SINGAPORE: Author Dan Buettner, co-founder of the Blue Zones certification, has officially added Singapore to the list of Blue Zones in his latest Netflix documentary ‘Live to 100’. Blue Zones are regions known for their exceptional longevity and the overall health of their residents.
Singapore, according to Buettner, represents an “engineered blue zone” and joins the ranks of the existing five Blue Zones, which include Sardinia (Italy), Okinawa (Japan), Nicoya (Costa Rica), Icaria (Greece), and Loma Linda (California).
The concept of Blue Zones was originally introduced by demographic researchers Michel Poulin and Gianni Pes, who first identified Sardinia as the world’s inaugural Blue Zone. Buettner expanded upon their work, identifying the additional four locations, and now, Singapore as the sixth.
Buettner notes that Singapore has witnessed a remarkable increase in life expectancy over the past six decades, currently standing at 85 years, making it the highest in the world.
Unlike the original five Blue Zones, whose longevity is deeply rooted in history, culture, and tradition, Singapore’s inclusion is primarily attributed to its urban transformation. Buettner describes it as an “engineered blue zone,” distinct from the organic emergence of the other five.
Several key aspects contribute to Singapore’s success in this regard, such as the Government’s promotion of physical activity, social interactions prevalent in public spaces, subsidies to promote healthier eating habits, and the top-notch healthcare facilities across the city-state.
Buettner suggested that Singapore’s tax incentives for families with ageing parents residing nearby encourage the care of older individuals within the family, reducing reliance on retirement homes.
Singapore’s recognition as a Blue Zone comes despite the emergence of certain health issues in the city-state. There has been a gradual increase in diabetes cases from 2010 to 2017, with projections suggesting a further uptick by 2030. Additionally, adult obesity rates have seen a slight rise.
Nonetheless, Singapore’s population remains economically and educationally secure, boasting the second-highest GDP per capita and the tenth-highest gross national income per capita globally, according to the World Bank.
Additionally, a literacy rate of 97% underscores the nation’s commitment to education. Singapore is also actively pursuing food security through its “30 by 30” initiative, aiming to increase local food production.