Archives for posts with tag: diet

Quality of life and longevity do not necessarily go together. Many years do not guarantee a rich and full life but if I could choose, I would certainly want to stick around a long time.

Logo of WHO World Health Organization

According to the World Health Organization Japan has the highest overall average life expectancy of 84 years. Andorra, Australia, Italy, San Marino, Singapore, and Switzerland rank second with 83 years. African nations occupy the final 30 spots with Sierra Leone last with a life expectancy of 46 years. The United States is number 34 of 194 at 79 years.

There are many factors that effect how long one lives. Harry Truman said the secret to living a long life is to take a two-mile walk every day before breakfast. That might have worked for him but it is not for me.

George Burns Picture

George Burns was one of the few entertainers whose career successfully spanned vaudeville, radio, film and television. Before he died at the age of 100 he said, “f you ask what is the single most important key to longevity, I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension. And if you didn’t ask me, I’d still have to say it.”

A ninety year old man was asked to what he attributed his longevity. “I reckon,” he said with a twinkle in his eye, “it is because most nights I went to bed and slept when I should have sat up and worried.”

A recent study cited on the website,, found that four bad behaviors—smoking, drinking too much alcohol, not exercising, and not eating enough fruits and veggies—can age you by as many as 12 years.


Julie Zaumer, writing for the Washington Post last month, offered one other suggestion for living longer. She cited a new study published recently by the American Medical Association which concluded that those who attend church services more often actually have a better chance of staying alive in the long run.

Small Rural Church in Texas Stock Image

Over a 20-year span, the study surveyed a group of more than 76,000 female nurses. More than 13,000 of them died during the 20 years. The women who went to religious services more than once a week were 33 percent less likely to be in that group who died, compared to those who never attended services.

Tyler VanderWeele, a researcher at Harvard’s school of public health who co-wrote the study, said participants who attended services once a week saw the odds of their dying go down 26 percent. Those who attended services less than weekly increased the odds of them dying 13 percent. In addition, they found the effect of religious attendance was stronger than that of any other form of participation in a social group like a book club or a volunteer organization.

So, if you want to live longer: don’t smoke, limit your alcohol consumption, eat your veggies, stay active, and attend worship services regularly.

I’ll see you in church.

Jamie Jenkins

New Year a Good Start

Today is the last day of the year. Tomorrow we turn the calendar over to January 1, 2016. As we approach a new year many people resolve to do certain things in the coming year to improve the quality of their lives and the lives of others.

New Year 4

I do not make New Year’s Resolutions. Make no mistake, I understand that there are many things that warrant change in my daily actions and attitudes. Nevertheless, I don’t go through the exercise of listing them intentionally upon the advent of a new year.

New Year 2

It has been said if you aim at nothing, you will probably hit it. I agree that identifiable, measurable, and achievable goals are good. I do periodically assess my lifestyle and attempt to make adjustments. However, rather than make specific resolutions at the beginning of the calendar year, needed changes may be recognized and addressed at any time.

New Year Better Man

For example, a few years ago I realized that  I needed to make some changes as I got older and my lifestyle became more sedentary. I am relatively healthy and active but I have slowed down. My metabolism, which has been my best friend all my life, has slowed down also. Thus, I do not have a weight problem but I am developing a waist problem.

Although I am fairly active, I am not a physical fitness fanatic (that is putting it mildly). I knew that I would not follow through long term on any drastic changes. So, I started with small but significant changes to my diet. Because I have a real weakness for anything sweet, and especially ice cream. I decided that I would eat sweets only on weekends. I also started eating a light but somewhat healthy breakfast, something that I had not done consistently since I was a kid, and I determined to reduce my intake of soft drinks and mid-day snacks. Small but significant changes.

New Year Endless Possibilities

The beginning of a new year provides impetus for us to think about changes that we need to make. It prompts us to reevaluate the practices of our daily life. Somewhere I read an article on the fundamentals of journalism but I cannot remember any of the content and I cannot recall where I saw it. However, I do remember three principles that I believe apply equally to all of life: Honesty, Integrity, Accountability.

I will address each of these in subsequent writings but for now I leave them for your consideration. Whether you are making New Years Resolutions or simply thinking about how you order your life, these three principles provide a framework for some serious self examination and goal setting.

New Year 1

Happy New Year!


Jamie Jenkins