As readers of my blog know, I'm a great fan of the Japanese culture,
lifestyle, and people. I'm on a speaking tour of the country this week,
meeting with government, academia, and industry leaders in
Nagoya and Kyoto. Every time I visit Japan I learn more about the
language, the arts, and tradition. The trip thus far has been
remarkable with many insights into the challenges of their healthcare
system, their plans for EHRs and their emerging interest in PHRs. I've
met many friends and colleagues, had great vegetarian meals, and
mastered the Tokyo subway system.
One of the most interesting
experiences was having lunch with Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara, the most
famous physician in Japan. He's 97 years old and loved by everyone –
the Japanese version of Dr. Koop. He has published over 150 books since
his 75th birthday, including one "Living Long, Living Good" that has
sold more than 1.2 million copies. As the founder of the New Elderly
Movement, Hinohara encourages others to live a long and happy life, a
quest in which no role model is better than the doctor himself.
I asked Doctor Hinohara to describe the secrets of his exemplary physical health and sharp mental acuity.
His response was simple – sleep little, eat modestly, and work hard.
night he goes to bed at midnight and wakes at 5:30am. His breakfast is
coffee, a glass of milk and orange juice with a tablespoon of olive oil
in it. (He notes that olive oil is great for the arteries and keeps his
skin healthy). Lunch is milk and a few cookies, or nothing when he is
too busy to eat (we ate Soba noodles together). Dinner is mostly
vegetables with a bit of fish and rice, and, twice a week, 100 grams of
lean meat. His total intake is about 1800 calories a day.
always takes the stairs and walks everywhere. He volunteers at St.
Luke's Hospital in Tokyo (he's the Chairman of the Board) 18 hours a
day, 7 days a week.
If I have half his energy at 97, I'll be happy!