Lessons from the Blue Zones: steps for living a happier, healthier life for longer


It is estimated that between 2015 and 2050, the proportion of the world’s population over 60 years old will double;1 however, while people are living longer, their health isn’t keeping pace. A report from the World Health Organization (WHO) found that despite global life expectancy sitting at 73.4 years,2 healthy life expectancy (the number of years a person can expect to live in “full health”) lagged behind at 63.7 years.3  Largely driven by an increase in chronic, age-related diseases affecting the older generations, the healthspan–lifespan gap means that approximately one-fifth of the average person’s life will be impacted by morbidity.4

Closing the healthspan–lifespan gap is an appealing target that has been adopted by numerous public health organizations,4,5 with the United Nations naming the period from Jan 2021 to Dec 2030 the “Decade of Healthy Aging”.6 But the standard approach to healthcare could in fact be widening the gap. Twenty-first-century medicine is largely reactive in nature, treating diseases and managing symptoms once they arise. With each new clinical development, disease management strategies help to further prolong lifespan. Yet, while cures for the most damning of chronic diseases remain elusive, healthspan remains stagnant. Reducing the lifespan–healthspan gap requires a preventive approach to medicine, focused on reducing the risk of developing the age-related diseases that are propagating the disparity.4

Exploring the impact of lifestyle on aging health

Results from an 18-year-long twin study published in 1999 first demonstrated the association between genetics, lifestyle, and the way in which we age. The research group found that, above the age of 60, only 25% of variation in health status could be explained by genetics; the remaining variation is due to lifestyle and environmental factors, which can enhance or reduce the risk of disease development.7 To determine which factors contribute to optimal aging, individual longevity studies have aimed to identify specific traits or life trajectories of long-lived persons.8 Expanding on this, population longevity studies have identified regions of the world in which a large proportion of the inhabitants demonstrate exceptional longevity – the so-called ‘Blue Zones’.8

In 2004, the Barbagia Region of Sardinia was identified as the first longevity Blue Zone due to its high population of centenarians.9 Later additions to the Blue Zone roster were Okinawa (Japan), Nicoya (Costa Rica), Ikaria (Greece), and Loma Linda (California, USA).10,11 In addition to their long lifespan, the populations of these regions typically remain physically active well into their later years and do not suffer the degenerative diseases common to their age group elsewhere in the world.11

Insights from the Blue Zones

By examining features shared by each of the Blue Zone regions, researchers identified key lifestyle factors that are common denominators for longevity. These factors, referred to as the ‘Power 9’, are:11

  1. Moving naturally throughout the day, focusing on consistent regular movement rather than bursts of high intensity exercise
  2. Having a sense of purpose, a reason to wake up in the morning
  3. Building stress-relieving rituals into one’s day-to-day routine
  4. Stopping eating when 80% full and eating the smallest meal in the evening
  5. Adopting a plant-based approach to food, with beans, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains forming the core of one’s diet
  6. Consuming moderate but regular amounts of wine, preferably limited to social settings with friends
  7. Being part of a community and forging a sense of belonging
  8. Developing close and strong family connections
  9. Forming strong social networks with close friends

Looking at these factors, it is of little surprise that the lifespan–healthspan gap is widening in the western world: for many, the ability to move naturally is constrained by hours sat at a desk and life in pedestrian-unfriendly cities;12 diets tend to be heavy on ultra-processed foods;13 and despite the connections afforded by social media, as a society we are lonelier and more isolated than ever.14,15

However, there is still time to change. And the Blue Zones research team has demonstrated that applying the Power 9 principles can change the health trajectory of a community.11 In the city of Albert Lea (Minnesota, USA), Blue Zone experts set forth to update the city in line with their longevity values. Working with the local government they set to improve outside spaces, increase access to healthy foods, and instill a sense of community across the city. In just one year, the average lifespan increased by 2.9 years, healthcare claims decreased by 49%, and workplace absenteeism reduced by 21%.11

The science to back it up

The concept of a true longevity Blue Zone is controversial, with skeptics saying that the exceptional longevity demonstrated in the regions is more likely due to record-keeping errors or pension fraud.16 Indeed, living in such a place, or even living your life as if you do, is no guarantee of making it to 100. Genetic factors and predispositions can outweigh the healthiest of lifestyles; however, the Power 9 principles taken from Blue Zone research largely align with the core pillars of lifestyle medicine, and results from Blue Zone studies – such as the one in Albert Lea – are in line with recent results coming from the wider longevity research community.10

Recent dietary studies have found high intake of fruits, high-fiber vegetables, and lean meat is associated with decelerated aging, whereas consumption of red meat, cheese, and starchy vegetables has the opposite effect.17 Numerous studies have also demonstrated health benefits associated with plant-based diets.18,19 Regarding exercise, one study with over 62,000 participants showed that regular vigorous intermittent lifestyle physical activity – i.e., exercise that is part of daily
life rather than a structured workout – results in a reduction in all-cause, cancer, and CVD mortality risk.20 Increased social isolation has long been shown to be associated with assorted chronic illnesses and an increased risk for mortality,21 and a recent study added to the existing literature by demonstrating that those with more social connections experience slower biological aging and have
a lower mortality rate.22

Steps for a (hopefully) longer life

We’ve all had days where it feels like we are chained to the desk, but making time for your health is key for both your short-term mood and long-term health trajectory. Every few hours, why not take a walk around the room, stretch out the day with a quick yoga practice, or drop into a set of squats to get the blood flowing and the body moving. Walking challenges – such as the ones run by the Scientific Group Mental Health team – can be great for promoting daily movement, giving you a target number of steps to aim for. For lunch, find healthy, plant-focused recipes that are quick to whip up, provide energy for the rest of the day, and make for a sustainable choice. Connect with friends and colleagues, through meetings or in the pub after a long day, for support navigating stressful scenarios and for an altogether more enjoyable work environment. And make time for stress-relieving practices in your day to avoid burnout.

While we may not live to be 100 or remain disease free into our final decades, by applying the principles of the Blue Zones, we could have the best chance of realizing this goal.  


  1. World Health Organization. Ageing and health. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/ageing-and-health. Last accessed May 2024.
  2. Life expectancy of the world population. https://www.worldometers.info/demographics/life-expectancy/. Last accessed May 2024.
  3. World Health Organization. GHE: Life expectancy and healthy life expectancy. https://www.who.int/data/gho/data/themes/mortality-and-global-health-estimates/ghe-life-expectancy-and-healthy-life-expectancy. Last accessed May 2024.
  4. Garmany A et al. NPJ Regen Med. 2021;6(1):57.
  5. Angell SY et al. Circulation. 2020;141(9):e120–38.
  6. United Nations. Decade of healthy ageing: 2021–2030. https://social.desa.un.org/sdn/decade-of-healthy-ageing-2021-2030. Last accessed May 2024.
  7. Christensen K et al. J Aging Health. 1999;11(1):49–64.
  8. Poulain M et al. Mech Ageing Dev. 2021;198:111543.
  9. Poulain M et al. Exp Gerontol. 2004;39:1423–9.
  10. Kreouzi M et al. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2022;0(0).
  11. World Economic Forum. 9 lessons from the world’s Blue Zones on living a long, healthy life. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/06/changing-the-way-america-eats-moves-and-connects-one-town-at-a-time/. Last accessed May 2024.
  12. Park JH et al. Korean J Fam Med. 2020;41:365–73.
  13. Juul F et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2022;115(1):211–21.
  14. Surkalim DL et al. BMJ. 2022:376:e067068.
  15. US loneliness index. https://www.cigna.com/static/www-cigna-com/docs/about-us/newsroom/studies-and-reports/combatting-loneliness/loneliness-survey-2018-full-report.pdf. Last accessed May 2024.
  16. Financial Times. The surprising data behind supercentenarians. https://www.ft.com/content/912c2b53-65eb-4c5c-96d3-605f8872dbbe. Last accessed June 2024 .
  17. Biemans Y et al. Age Ageing. 2024;53(Suppl. 2):ii20–9.
  18. Babalola F et al. Cureus. 2022;14(10):e29843.
  19. Capodici A et al. PLoS One. 2024;19(5):e0300711.
  20. Stamatakis E et al. Nat Med. 2022;28:2521–9.
  21. Holt-Lunstad J et al. Perspect Psychol Sci. 2015;10(2):227–37.
  22. Rajai N et al. JACC Adv. 2024;0(0).

MedComms = something about medics (I think?)

The Data are Analyzed and the Results are in: the Next Generation is Filled with Curies and Einsteins 

Menopause: It’s only natural so let’s get ready

Privacy Policy

Updated October 2022

This website, www.wearescientific.com, is operated by AS&K Communications Limited (“we”, “our” or “us”) as the holding company for Group Scientific (known hereas “Scientific Group”). We are committed to safeguarding and preserving the privacy of our visitors. By using and visiting our website and by submitting your personal information to us you agree to us using your personal information as set out in this privacy policy. This Privacy Policy document (the “Policy”) explains what happens to any personal data that you provide to us, or that we collect from you whilst you visit our site and how we use cookies on this website. We respect the privacy of users of our website and recognise that when you choose to provide us with information about yourself, you trust us to act in a responsible manner with that information. This privacy policy contains important information about how we use your personal information.

Scientific Group reserves the right to amend or modify this Privacy Policy Statement at any time and in response to changes in applicable data protection and privacy legislation. All changes will be posted on this page. We encourage you to review our Policy periodically to remain informed of changes that may have occurred.

Information That We Collect

In running and maintaining our website we may collect and process the data about you. We may gather the following information about you:

  • Information about your use of our site including details of your visits such as pages viewed and the resources that you access. Such information includes traffic data, location data and other communication data
  • Identifiable Information submitted by you or someone acting on your behalf. Generally this information is requested when you want us to provide you with information. We will collect personal information that can identify you, such as your name, e-mail address, and other similar information (“Your Information”) when it is voluntarily submitted to us
  • Information that you provide when you communicate with us by any means
  • Information provided by you in relation to submitting a job application to us (this may include sensitive personal information e.g. ethnic origin)

Use of Your Information

We use the information that we collect from you to provide our services to you. In addition to this we may use the information for one or more of the following purposes:

  • To provide information to you that you request from us relating to our products or services.
  • To provide information to you relating to other products that may be of interest to you. Such additional information will only be provided where you have consented to receive such information.
  • To inform you of any changes to our website, services or goods and products.
  • To process and consider your job application

If you have previously purchased goods or services from us, we may provide to you details of similar goods or services, or other goods and services that you may be interested in.

We never give your details to third parties to use your data to enable them to provide you with information regarding unrelated goods or services.

Storing Your Personal Data

In operating our website it may become necessary to transfer data that we collect from you to other group companies, affiliates and third parties to help us process your personal information for the purposes set out in this policy. Some of these locations may be outside of the European Union. By providing your personal data to us, you agree to this transfer, storing and processing. We do our utmost to ensure that all reasonable steps are taken to make sure that your data is stored securely and that the third parties who receive your personal information are required to keep it confidential..

We are a global company and therefore we may transfer your personal information to countries around the world including the US and other countries outside Europe. We will, where necessary, put in place appropriate safeguards to ensure your information is protected.

Disclosing Your Information

We will not disclose your personal information to any other party other than in accordance with this Privacy Policy and in the circumstances detailed below:

  • In the event that we sell any or all of our business to a buyer, in which case we will require any such buyer to agree to treat Your Information in accordance with this Privacy Policy Statement.
  • Where we are legally required by law to disclose your personal information.
  • To further fraud protection and reduce the risk of fraud.

Third Party Links

On occasion we include links to third parties on this website. Where we provide a link it does not mean that we endorse or approve that site’s policy towards visitor privacy. You should review their privacy policy before sending them any personal data. These websites may use cookies and collect your personal information in accordance with their own privacy policies. This privacy policy does not apply to third party websites and we are not responsible for third party websites.

How long do we keep your information?

We will keep your information for a reasonable period for the purposes set out above.

Contacting Us

Please do not hesitate to contact us regarding any matter relating to this Privacy Policy and to have any inaccuracies in your information corrected via email at info@wearescientific.com or by phone at: +44 (0) 20 7428 2900

Or by post at:

AS&K Communications Limited
Data Protection/Scientific Group
5–6 Underhill Street

Terms of Use


Last Updated 6 October 2022  

By accessing this website you agree to be bound by these Terms & conditions (“terms”), please read them carefully. If you do not agree to be bound by these terms you should not access or view this website.

Who we are:
AS&K Communications Ltd. The holding company for Group Scientific (known hereas ‘Scientific Group’)
We are registered in England and Wales under registration number: 05169581
Our trading office is: 5-6 Underhill Street, Camden, London, N1W 7HS, United Kingdom
VAT Registration number: GB 272753585.

  1. The information contained in this website is intended for general information purposes only. Scientific Group has made all reasonable efforts to ensure that the information on this website is accurate at the time of inclusion, however there may be inaccuracies and occasional errors for which Scientific Group apologises.
  2. Scientific Group makes no representations or warranties about the information provided through this website, including any hypertext links to any website or other items used either directly or indirectly from this website. AS&K accepts no liability for any inaccuracies or omissions in this website and any decisions based on information contained in Scientific Group’s websites are the sole responsibility of the visitor.
  3. The information and images contained within this website are © Copyright Group Scientific. We permit you to make copies of this website as necessary incidental acts during your viewing of it; and you may take a print for your personal use of so much of the site as is reasonable for private purposes. You may not frame this site nor link to a page other than the home page without our express permission in writing. 
  4. You shall not use this website for any illegal purposes and in particular agree that you shall not send, use, copy, post or allow any posting which is defamatory or obscene within the meaning of the Obscene Publications Act or which is abusive, indecent or in breach of the privacy of any person. You agree not to send any unsolicited promotional or advertising material, spam or similar materials or any volume messages that may interfere with the operation of this website or with the enjoyment of this website by other visitors.
  5. Scientific Group reserves the right at any time and without notice to enhance, modify, alter, suspend or permanently discontinue all or any part of this website and to restrict or prohibit access to it.
  6. You hereby agree to indemnify Scientific Group against any costs, claims, losses and damages (including legal fees) incurred by or awarded against Scientific Group as a result of your misuse of this website or your breach of these terms.
  7. If you are in breach of these terms or, of Scientific Group’s Privacy Policy, Scientific Group may as its option, suspend or block your access to this website and refuse to provide you with any further access to it.
  8. This website is provided to you free of charge, and neither Scientific Group nor any of its subsidiary or affiliated companies accept any liability to you (except in the case of personal injury or death caused by its negligence or for fraud or as required by law) whether in contract, tort (including negligence) or otherwise, arising out of it in connection with this website. Scientific Group accepts no liability for any direct, special, indirect or consequential damages, or any other damages of whatsoever kind resulting from whatever cause through the use of any information obtained either directly or indirectly from this website. Your sole remedy is to discontinue using this website.
  9. These terms may be amended by Scientific Group from time to time.
  10. Your use of this website and downloads from it, and the operation of these terms & conditions, shall be governed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales. The English courts shall have exclusive jurisdiction over any dispute arising out of your use of this website.

In the event that any or any part of the terms contained in these terms & conditions shall be determined by any competent authority to be invalid, unlawful or unenforceable to any extent, such term shall to that extent be severed from the remaining terms which shall continue to be valid and enforceable to the fullest extent permitted by law.

Please send any enquiries by email: info@wearescientific.com

Contact us by phone: +44 (0) 207 428 2900

Or by post:
Scientific Group – AS&K Communications
5–6 Underhill Street  
London NW1 7HS
United Kingdom

Cookie Policy

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts.

More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

  • Assisting you in navigation;

  • Assisting in registration to our events, login, and your ability to provide feedback;

  • Analyzing your use of our products, services or applications;

  • Assisting with our promotional and marketing efforts. (including behavioral advertising)

Below is a detailed list of the cookies we use on our Website. Our Website is scanned with our cookie scanning tool regularly to maintain a list as accurate as possible. We classify cookies in the following categories:
  • Strictly Necessary Cookies

  • Performance Cookies

  • Functional Cookies

  • Targeting Cookies

You can opt-out of each cookie category (except strictly necessary cookies) by clicking on the “cookie settings” button below: Customize Settings


A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services, such as setting your privacy preferences, logging in or filling in forms. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work. These cookies do not store any personally identifiable information.
Cookie Subgroups Cookies Cookies Used Lifespan
asandk.com ask_session First Party Session
asandk.com XSRF-TOKEN First Party Session

Analytics Cookies

These cookies allow us to count visits and traffic sources, so we can measure and improve the performance of our site. They help us know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. If you do not allow these cookies, we will not know when you have visited our site.
Cookie Subgroups Cookies Cookies Used Lifespan
asandk.com ga,_gid First Party 730 Days, A few seconds,

Targeting Cookies

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They can be used by these third parties to build a profile of your interests based on the browsing information they collect from you, which includes uniquely identifying your browser and terminal equipment. If you do not allow these cookies you will still see basic advertising on your browser that is generic and not based on your interests
Cookie Subgroups Cookies Cookies Used Lifespan
asandk.com _gat_gtag_xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx_gat_xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx First Party A few seconds, A few seconds, A few seconds
asandk.com, communications.asandk.com, visitor_id##### First Party 3650 Days
google.com 1P_JAR,_gcl_auNID,HSID,SSID,SIDCC,SID,SAPISID,DV Third Party 365 Days 180 Days, 183 Days,1095 Days,1095 Days,1095 Days,A few seconds
google.com __Secure-1PAPISID,__Secure-1PSID,__Secure-3PAPISID,__Secure-3PSIDCC,OTZ Third Party 1095 Days,1095 Days,,1095 Days,365 Days,,365 Days