What Dianne is Reading – Why Do People Live Longer in Japan?

In this feature of the Genki Living® blog, I would like to share with you helpful articles, interesting research, and useful health information that I came across in the past week.

Our good friend, Dr. Tom Yoshikawa, geriatrics physician and former Editor in Chief of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, recently sent me an article that he thought would be of great interest to Our Community.  And he was right.  This article, “Why Do People Live Longer in Japan?” addresses issues that are front and foremost in KEIRO’s focus as we move forward. 

I’m sure you are familiar with Dr. Yoshikawa, who was recently recognized by the American Geriatrics Society with one of its highest awards, The David H. Solomon Memorial Public Service Award.  Dr. Yoshikawa very generously volunteers his time to KEIRO and has been a featured speaker at many of our Vitality Forums and was the keynote speaker at our inaugural Genki Conference: Veteran’s Edition.


what dianne is reading pt 1

Thomas T. Yoshikawa, MD, AGSF, speaking at KEIRO’s Genki Conference: Veteran’s Edition, 2013

The article referred by Dr. Yoshikawa asks the question if we can learn any lessons from the Japanese and raises issues about the positive impact of the Japanese diet, the Japanese healthcare system, social cohesion, exercise and genetics, as well as a downside of “overwork” in the Japanese way of life.

Of significance is the issue of the positive benefits of social cohesion.  In creating new programs going forward, KEIRO will be addressing the critical issue of social isolation and loneliness, which has been found to be worse for your health than smoking 15 cigarettes a day!  Research has found that for people 60 years and older, loneliness was a predictor of functional decline and death.

It’s interesting that the first study conducted by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research on the “Health and Health Behaviors of Japanese Americans in California: A Sign of Things to Come for Aging Americans?” concluded that the Japanese American community is not just the nation’s oldest ethnic group, the Japanese American adult population experiences lower risk for a majority of health indicators, and may therefore, be a source of future study for examining healthy aging. This study, the first of three, was commissioned by KEIRO.

dianne pt 2

A copy of “Health and Health Behaviors of Japanese Americans in America: A Sign of Things to Come for Aging Americas?” which was commissioned by KEIRO

KEIRO just convened a meeting of the UCLA researchers and leaders of various community and public organizations who serve older Japanese Americans and Japanese to finalize the follow-up report on the health of the Japanese American and Japanese older adults in California.  Stay tuned for these results.

For more about KEIRO’s vision for the future, please visit our website and to read more about KEIRO’s new Vision Framework, please see read our e-newsletters.

KEIRO’s Genki Living Programs support individuals to obtain, process, and understand health information so that they can manage their health for optimal wellness.

KEIRO® is expanding our reach from a focus on long term health care facilities to broadly engaging and supporting thousands of Japanese American and Japanese older adults throughout Los Angeles, Ventura and Orange counties. KEIRO provides services to older adults and caregivers, along with programs for residents of KEIRO’s former facilities—helping older adults in Our Community to age the way they choose.


About the Author: 

Dianne Kujubu BelliDianne Kujubu Belli in lobby is the Chief Administrative Officer of KEIRO®. Dianne stays Genki by doing cardio and light weight training four days a week at the gym and dances Argentine tango.


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