What are Blue Zones?

The term ‘Blue Zone’ describes regions of the world where people live longer than average and maintain good health, and where there are particularly high numbers of centenarians. Five regions are currently known as Blue Zones: Okinawa (Japan), Sardinia (Italy), the Nicoya Peninsula (Costa Rica), Ikaria (Greece) and Loma Linda (California, USA) [Buettner & Skemp 2016].

All five regions have certain cultural similarities that are used to explain their long and healthy lives. These include a predominantly plant-based diet with high consumption of vegetables, a moderate calorie intake and a low consumption of tobacco and alcohol. In addition, Blue Zones residents place a high value on family, social engagement is very high and exercise is an integral part of life. Thus, in addition to a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle, social cohesion, community and caregiving appear to be crucial factors for healthy ageing [Buettner & Skemp 2016].

More FAQs on ageing


Buettner, D., Skemp, S., Blue Zones: Lessons From the World's Longest Lived. Am J Lifestyle Med, 2016. 10(5): p. 318-321.

Go to Editor View