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Home arrow Opinion arrow Jeff Petersen: ON SECOND THOUGHT arrow A date with Al Roker


A date with Al Roker

Turning 100 could be fatal. As you probably know, it’s a tradition for the president to write a letter of congratulations when a person reaches 100 years old. It’s also a tradition to be mentioned on NBC’s The Today Show by the incredibly shrinking Al Roker.


What if the mere mention of the president’s name makes your blood boil? What if you have an aversion to slender weathermen?

Truth is, if your blood boils easily, you probably won’t reach 100 anyway.

Odds are against us. Only one in 3,300 people will reach the 100 milestone, if my research department, headed by Mattie the cat, can be trusted.

Anytime a person reaches 100, it is customary for a reporter to request an interview, which usually goes like this:

How did you live so long?


How Did You Live So Long?



Upon finally hearing the question, one centenarian will attribute his longevity to drinking wheatgrass juice and soybean smoothies. The next will credit Slurpees and cigars, creamed corn and Junior Mints.

Who is to be believed?

If you’re like me, you only want to live to 100 on your own terms. Who wants to be kept alive by drugs and the health industry, which could probably keep an Edsel of a human

pinging and knocking well into his 80s whether he wants to be alive or not?

More and more of us are living longer but not better.

The number of centenarians is doubling about every decade. Okinawa — motto, the Hawaii of Japan — leads the world with 34.7 centenarians for every 100,000 inhabitants.

In Okinawa, studies have shown five factors contributing to longevity.

The first is diet. Okinawans go heavy on grains, fish and vegetables and light on meat, eggs and dairy products. They eat less and eat pure, that is, foods as close to their natural state. They “graze” and don’t gorge, eating smaller amounts more often.

The second factor is low-stress lifestyles. If Okinawans can’t change something, they don’t spend a lot of time trying to worry it to death. They get plenty of sleep. They’re positive thinkers, problem solvers.

The third factor is being part of a caring community that includes more than TV sitcom families. Okinawans are flexible. They laugh. They make a point to see people and join groups.

The fourth factor in living to 100 is high levels of activity. Okinawans move. They work until an older age, and don’t retire to an easy chair eating junk. They tend to do a lot of walking and gardening.

The fifth factor is spirituality. Okinawans tend to use prayer to ease stress. They serve others.

The point is, people are living longer thanks to modern medicine but not necessarily better. If you want a date with Al Roker someday, you might want to start living like the Okinawans now.

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