Dubai: Genes affect 20 per cent of a person’s life longevity, while 80 per cent depends on lifestyle, said Dan Buettner, fellow at National Geographic, during a session titled ‘The blue zones of happiness.’

Speaking at the World Government Summit on Sunday, Buettner presented his study on the world’s blue zones communities, whose elders live to record-setting age.

The five blue zones around the world include the island of Ikaria, in Greece, a community of Adventists in Loma Linda, California, the Mediterranean island of Sardinia in Italy, the island of Okinawa in Japan, and the island of Nicoya in Costa Rica.

“We found that people in these blue zones practise nine common characteristics, which lead to life longevity,” said Buettner.

Moving naturally, which includes engaging in natural, low intensity exercises such as gardening or walking to a destination was the first on Buettner’s list.

Second was eating less by around 20 per cent, followed by eating more plants and cutting back on processed foods.

Research in the Japanese community in Okinawa also found that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol is a factor of longevity, as well as slowing down, working less and resting more.

Buettner also discussed that making family a priority is key in living longer, as close-knit families where grandparents were present resulted in healthier grandchildren.

Just the same, Buettner told his audience to find the right tribe, meaning to choose friends wisely, and pointed out that having a spiritual practice and belonging to a religious community also showed to be a common factor among the longest-lived people in the world.

Box: How to eat less and eat better: best practices

— 90-100% of diet plant based

— 65% carbohydrates and starch

— Lots of grain, greens, and beans

— Have meat less than 5 times a month

— Have fish around 3 times a week

— No cow’s dairy

— Snack on nuts

— Have lots of water