4. A Contrasting View
In America only about 0.4% of the total population is said to survive to age 90 or over and even this figure is suspect since older persons tend to make themselves older, for some strange reason! The majority of Americans in their sixties and seventies stare out of blank eyes at a nothingness. Their faces are lined with care, their bodies twisted by arthritis and sclerotic diseases, their minds are overcome by worry, anxiety, care. As a consequence, many relapse into early senility and withdraw into a world of their own making.
In contrast let us look at some other people. In the Caucasus region of the Soviet Union there are an estimated 4,500 to 5,000 over-100-year-old people. Nearly 50 out of every 100,000 people in that part of the world live to celebrate their 100th birthday and many just keep going on from there! In fact, most believe that youth ends at about the age of eighty, but they just aren’t quite sure about that! In 1977, the latest figures we have, the oldest Russian known was said to be a “hale and hearty 168 years old.” Only three Americans in 100,000 ever reach 100 years of age and only a handful go much beyond.
Over 10% of the Vilcabambans of the Ecuadorian Andes customarily pass the century mark. The longevity of the Hunzas of Pakistan has been well publicized. The longevity of all we have mentioned has been well documented. But the intriguing part about the longevity of these various groups of people is not mainly that they have lived so long but rather that they have lived more or less constantly, throughout their lifetimes, always in a state of superb health. They seem to have stumbled onto the fountain of perpetual middle-age!” They remain vigorous in body and spirit all their lives. Their minds are alert and they remain filled with a zest for living. At 140 years of age, and perhaps even beyond, they work in the fields beside their great grandchildren and, in the upper regions of the Himalayans, it is said that the ninety-year-olds, after their hard days’s work in the field, often join the “kids” for a game of volleyball. When was the last time you ever saw a ninety-year-old playing volleyball or any other physical game?
The head of the National Institute on Aging, Dr. Robert N. Butler, spent 17 days in Russia a few years ago at the invitation of his Russian counterpart, Dmitri Chebotarev. He concluded from his research in that country that the legendary long-lived Russians are indeed for real and that they don’t do it by eating yogurt!
Dr. Butler found 1. That the Soviets are ahead of the U.S. in recognizing the intimate connection between nutrition and the aging process, and 2. That the U.S. has more equipment for research. He cited these reasons why, in his view, the people in the Caucasus lived so long:
- They remain vigorous in body and spirit all their lives.
- They keep their minds active.
- They retain a zest for living, are fun-filled, family-oriented.
- They work hard and are physically active all their lives.
- They have a good inheritance. (He pointed at whole families, all the members of which live well over the century mark.)
- They have good nutrition. They eat sparingly and do not snack.
Dr. Butler sounds like a Life Scientist when he says that he observed that the aged Russians ate mostly of fruits and vegetables and they they consumed only modest amounts of protein, very little fat, no salt, and no butter. They garnish their food, he said, with nuts instead of using sauces and they do not eat just before going to bed.
Butler observed that the old people stayed active and participated fully in home and community life. In a Gannet News Service release Butler recounts how one of the very old men threw a party for him. “It appeared to be important to him to be a good host,” commented Butler!”
In light of our present knowledge of what is required for us to live always in a high state of health, just
as these Russians do, it is incumbent upon all Life Scientists to participate actively in educating all people in the principles and practices that will impart to our aged ones a far higher state of health than they presently enjoy.
Butler noted that the Russians are actively pursuing their research while at American facilities devoted to gerontological research he stated that, “The longest time we can get people to come in is for two or three days.” The Soviets have even tracked down birthdates and histories put down in old Korans and retrieved passport data from border crossing records of centuries ago. It seems that the Soviets are learning what retards the ticking of the biological clock while Americans appear to, be quite content merely to pop their pills and, in their narcotized state, passively to catch the rising tides of catastrophic diseases and painful deaths as well as they skyrocketing costs of housing and caring for all the sick, diseased, the senile and the dying, the numbers of which seem ever on the increase.
- 1. Introduction
- 2. Older People Need Support
- 3. The Path We Travel
- 4. A Contrasting View
- 5. The American Express
- 6. The Hygienic Approach—Case Studies
- Article #1: Inward Time By Alexis Carrel, M.D.
- Article #2: Overnutrition—All About Protein By The Doctors McCarter
- Article #3: Health
- Article #4: Why Exercise?