Traditional island lifestyle is a healthy lifestyle

13 Nov 2019 by Christy Sakaziro - - Project Director, Micronesian Humanities

GETTING enough sleep, eating right, exercising, and practicing good hygiene are all important to your health.

Islanders who were interviewed by this writer said people who live on some of the atolls in Micronesia stay healthy because they do not watch TV so they go to sleep early. They also exercise every day because they walk to hunt or fish.

In March 2019, the website of PLOS One, a peer-reviewed open access scientific journal published by the Public Library of Science, posted a research study titled, “Traditional Lifestyles, Transition, and Implications for Healthy Aging: An Example from the Remote Island of Pohnpei, Micronesia.”

It noted that “individuals residing on the remote atolls were living the most traditional lifestyles and also had the healthiest lifestyles…. The…more traditional life they lived, the higher they scored on the health scale, suggesting the importance of traditional lifestyle practices for maintaining health.”

The research study added: “Based on our findings, we discuss and recommend the revitalization of particular traditional lifestyle practices, which may advance healthy aging among Pohnpeians.”

These include fishing often, eating fresh fish, growing plants, vegetables, fruits, not watching television, eating taro, breadfruit and greens grown in the garden, and avoiding white rice, pizza, candy, canned vegetables, Spam, or white bread. Not chewing betel nut with or without lime and exercising frequently also help.

Other researchers suggest that getting enough sleep is equally important to one’s health. According to the Harvard Medical School: “Lack of sleep not only makes harder for you to get through the day, it is also linked to all kinds of health problems, from diabetes to increasing blood pressure to weight gain and increased risk for a heart attack. Inadequate sleep even makes it more likely that you’ll catch a cold.”

WebMD offers the following tips to sleep better at night: exercise regularly; eliminate caffeine, alcohol, nicotine or stimulants; wake up the same time each day; limit naps, limit activities in bed; do not eat or drink right before going to bed; make your sleeping environment comfortable, get your worrying over with before you go to bed; reduce stress; and consider participating in cognitive therapy.


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