Japanese Diet Linked to Longer Life

By: Meredith O'Connell

Summary

The life expectancy of Japan is among the highest in the world and people are now taking notice and wondering how this has come to be. In Japan, there is a government recommended diet that emphasizes the increased intake of 5 main foods. The foods include: grains, vegetables, fish and meats, milk, and fruits. In a recent Japanese study, participants completed a questionnaire about their health and food intake at the beginning of the study and then again at the 5 and 10 year follow ups. The participants included over 36,000 males and 42,000 females across Japan. Those who followed the diet extremely close lowered their risk of dying during a 15-year period by 15%, compared to those who loosely followed the diet. Also, those who stayed true to the diet were 22% less likely to cardiovascular diseases, like a stroke, during the time of the study. Researches found that those who eat more vegetables and fruits as well as fish and meats seemed to fare the best in the study. Lastly, the researchers noted that Japanese people tend to eat less beef and pork, compared to Western cultures, which may also have some impact on living a longer life.

*The picture on the left is the Japanese food pyramid, known as the spinning top.

Sara G. Miller. Livescience. March 22, 2016.

Critique

The author of this article went off of the research study conducted by Kayo Kurotani, who is a senior researcher at the National Center for Global Health and Medicine in Tokyo. I found this article very easy to comprehend and well written. All of the pieces of the study were in the following paragraphs, with no room for misinterpretation. I enjoyed reading this paper because it delved into a diet that I was unfamiliar with and it described the benefits of said diet. The article made me think about how eating right can make a huge difference and to see that the study was throughout 15 years made it more valid in my opinion. If the study was only for 5 years or so, the results may be for a short-term fix, not a long-term fix. Also, the population number the study gathered was large enough to see an actual difference of a person who follows this diet versus someone who does not. If a study has only 500 people, the results may be scewed one way and will make people think that a certain diet, opinion, etc may be higher or lower than it actually is for a larger population. Also, the fact that the study was conducted across Japan and not just in one central area made the findings more valid. Overall, I believe that these findings from the study are accurate and valid due to the large number of participants and the fact that the study was in a span of 15 years.

The author of this article, Sara G. Miller, is an accomplished writer for Live Science and appears on other sites such as Huffpost Healthy Living and Scientific American. Live Science sponsored this article for the site.

*The picture to the right is just a contrast of how Japanese plates are configured versus how American plates are configured during meal times.