Singapore Joins the Elite Circle of Blue Zones for Longevity

Are you curious about the secrets to a longer, healthier life? Discover what factors compelled experts to include Singapore in the elite circle of Blue Zones. Who knows, maybe some of these longevity-boosting elements already exist in your own community.

Key Finding

Singapore’s induction as the world’s sixth Blue Zone shines a spotlight on the potential for policy-driven initiatives to extend healthy life expectancy.

Actionable Insight

Take a closer look at your community’s public policies and urban planning. Advocate for strategies that encourage walking, community interaction, and access to healthy foods—you may be laying the groundwork for the next Blue Zone.

Dan Buettner, author, explorer, and co-founder of the Blue Zones certification, recently revealed a groundbreaking update. In his new Netflix documentary, “Live to 100,”1 Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones Source Singapore joins the list of elite regions known as Blue Zones—places where people enjoy exceptionally long and healthy lives.

The previous five zones are Sardinia (Italy), Okinawa (Japan), Nicoya (Costa Rica), Icaria (Greece), and Loma Linda (California).

The Blue Zone Concept

The idea behind Blue Zones is both simple and groundbreaking. Developed initially by demographic researchers Michel Poulin and Gianni Pes, they identified Sardinia, Italy, as the world’s first Blue Zone—a place where people not only live longer but thrive in their later years.

Dan Buettner, a National Geographic explorer and author, expanded upon this initial research to include four more exceptional regions: Okinawa in Japan, Nicoya in Costa Rica, Icaria in Greece, and Loma Linda in California. In these unique geographic locations, the secret recipe for longevity involves regular physical exercise, primarily in the form of walking, and a whole-food, plant-based diet.

Singapore: An Engineered Marvel

The Southern Ridges in Singapore serve as a prime example of how urban design can contribute to a city’s status as a Blue Zone. Providing well-maintained walking paths for exercise, a natural setting for stress reduction, and communal spaces for social interaction.

Recently, the narrative took a compelling turn. Singapore, an urbanized island nation, joined this illustrious list, making it the sixth Blue Zone globally. Buettner’s recent Netflix documentary, “Live to 100,” makes it official. What sets Singapore apart is its dramatic increase in life expectancy. Since 1960, it has shot up by 20 years, clocking in at an impressive 85—the highest life expectancy worldwide.

The reason for Singapore’s ascent to Blue Zone status is its intentional urban planning and healthcare infrastructure. It is not an organically developed Blue Zone driven by historical and cultural factors, as are the initial five. Instead, it’s an “engineered Blue Zone,” meticulously designed to promote healthy, long-lasting lifestyles across its population.

What Makes Singapore Different: The Power of Policy

Singapore’s vibrant veggie and fruit markets offer a bounty of healthy options, making it easier and more cost-effective to choose fresh produce over more expensive processed foods.

The government of Singapore has taken several proactive steps to ensure that the built environment promotes wellness.2Blue Zones: Lessons from Singapore Source For example, there are walking pathways designed to protect pedestrians from the harsh sunlight, encouraging people to log between 10,000 and 20,000 steps daily.

High-rise residential buildings are strategically designed so that they foster community living and engagement. Residents are more likely to meet up at local markets and parks, thereby encouraging both social interaction and physical activity.

Additionally, the government subsidizes healthy food choices while taxing sugary beverages and junk food. Hospitals in the country resemble luxury hotels, focusing on patient comfort and satisfaction while providing top-notch healthcare. These well-planned efforts result in an environment where making a healthy choice becomes the easiest option for its citizens.

Moreover, Singapore’s citizens prioritize security over almost anything else. From ubiquitous security cameras to strict criminal laws, Singapore’s success can, in part, be attributed to its disciplined framework.

In Singapore, more than 84% of the population resides in privately owned, government-built housing. With policies ensuring equal access to education and jobs for all races, Singapore has managed to create a harmonious, middle-class society. This sense of equality contributes to both happiness and possibly, increased lifespan.

The Economic and Social Landscape

While Singapore’s Blue Zone status is a significant achievement, it’s essential to remember that the country also faces its share of healthcare challenges.

There has been a minor uptick in the prevalence of diabetes and adult obesity in recent years. However, Singapore’s strong economic and social frameworks provide a safety net. According to the World Bank, Singapore ranks high in GDP per capita and literacy rates.

The government subsidizes healthy food choices while taxing sugary beverages and junk food.

A financially secure and well-educated population is generally better equipped to proactively address health challenges, making deploying preventive measures easier.

Lessons for Us

Buettner’s work in identifying Blue Zones isn’t just an academic exercise; it serves as a model for what is possible worldwide. So, what can Singapore teach us about longevity and happiness?

As Singapore shows, the recipe for longevity isn’t solely dependent on historical or cultural factors—it can be engineered through thoughtful urban planning and public policy.

True happiness comes when we feel safe enough to focus on what’s really important: nourishing familial bonds, cultivating meaningful relationships, embracing a balanced diet, prioritizing preventive healthcare, and enriching our spiritual essence.

Perhaps elements of Singapore’s success are replicable, igniting a spark for towns and cities globally to aspire to become the next Blue Zones.

In conclusion, Singapore’s recent inclusion in the list of Blue Zones is a testament to what a society can achieve with focused, policy-driven initiatives that make healthy living accessible and straightforward. Unlike the original five Blue Zones, which owe their longevity to a blend of history, culture, and tradition, Singapore proves that modern urban environments can also foster long, healthy lives through intentional planning and strategy.


  • 1
    Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones Source
  • 2
    Blue Zones: Lessons from Singapore Source

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