These 5 Cities Might Have The Secret To Longevity

04/07/2015 04:35 pm ET | Updated Apr 07, 2015

The majority of the United States is approaching the idea of a long, healthy life the wrong way, according to National Geographic writer and explorer Dan Buettner's latest book, The Blue Zones. The book's title refers to the five locations around the world which either have the most people to reach 100-years-old at the highest rate, the lowest rate of mortality or the most centenarians.

Buettner joined HuffPost Live host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani to discuss how these five "blue zone" cities -- Okinawa, Japan; Ikaria, Greece; Sardina, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; and Loma Linda, California -- are approaching longevity and what the rest of us can learn from them.

"Only 25 percent of how long you live is dictated by your genes," Buettner said. "The other 75 percent is lifestyle and environment, so what we did working for a decade with National Geographic is essentially reverse-engineer longevity. Find places where we know people are already reaching a healthy age 90, and work backwards from there to figure out exactly what they do."

In these winning cities, residents view old age as a given, rather than a goal to strive for. And according to Buettner, that just might be the key to achieving longevity in the first place.

"There's lots of huge, chronic disease problems in this country, and I think we go about solving them in the wrong way." he said. "When you look around these blue zones ... they never tried to live to 100 ... Longevity happens to them. It's a residue. They're part of a culture that makes the right decisions for them, and that's the big secret: How you set up your life so that longevity ensues rather than being something you're always trying to chase."

Watch the full HuffPost Live clip above to hear more about these "blue zones" and the perception of longevity.

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