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How to Live to 100

Duration: 2 x 52'

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A fascinating look at how people live long, healthy lives in three very different communities around the world. 

74 year old TV Journalist, Jon Snow, travels to communities across Europe, Asia and America in search of the places where residents are living ten years longer than average to find out the secrets to a long, happy and healthy life.

Episode One

In episode one, Jon begins his journey by exploring the remote Greek Island of Ikaria in the Aegean Sea. Compared to the rest of Europe Ikaria has a third less heart disease, much less cancer and almost no cases of dementia. Ikarians live 10 Years longer than the European average, with one in three going on into their 90s. Jon arrives to find himself in one of the more stress-free places he’s ever visited, where wine drinking has purported health benefits, left-wing politics rule, watches are not worn and the elderly party with teenagers into the early hours. 

Jon’s second stop takes him to the USA and a very different community. America is one of the least healthy countries in the developed world with a life expectancy of just 76 years old and falling fast. But just 60 miles east of Los Angeles is a small community of 7th Day Adventists called Loma Linda where the radical lifestyle they are leading is adding years to their health. On his first morning he joins the over 85s take daily vigorous exercise in the gym at 6:30am, and learns from a pastor that Adventist doctrine preaches that your body really is a temple, leaving him to wonder just how that plays out in the lifestyles of residents here. 

Episode Two

In episode two, Jon continues his time in Loma Linda exploring how 7th Day Adventist doctrine contributes to longevity. As the fastest growing branch of Christianity in the world, 7th Day Adventists believe their bodies are temples, so go to great lengths to look after them. Most Adventists abstain from alcohol and many don’t drink coffee.  Jon meets 96-year-old dietician, Paul De Mazo, who shares the secret of his diet and why he has been a vegan for 70 years. Jon discovers during his time here that the common faith promotes a sense of community and a day of rest where families come together and unplug from technology is working wonders for people’s health and well-being. 

The final stop on Jon’s journey takes him to the large country whose population live longest of all, Japan. Renowned for low rates of obesity, a healthy diet with little red meat and plenty of fish, life expectancy has climbed to 85 years. Jon heads to Nagano – which has the highest life expectancy in the country - and explores how Japan’s ageing population is thriving. Jon meets a family where four generations all live under one roof, and learns how the elderly here remain essential – party due to a low birth rate - to society by continuing to work or volunteer until their 90s. The pursuit of Ikigai – a sense of purpose – is one of the keys to remaining active, stimulated and relevant into old age. 

For Channel 4

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