Located halfway between Palm Springs and Los Angeles in California, Loma Linda is home to a concentration of Seventh-day Adventists with a remarkable distinction: Study results have shown that, as a group, they currently lead the U.S. in longest life expectancy. Dan Buettner visited Loma Linda with photographer David McLain to learn the Adventists’ secrets. The images in this gallery were photographed on assignment for a November 2005 feature article in National Geographic magazine.
Here, 94-year-old Marion Westermeyer emerges from his daily swim in Loma Linda. “I've always needed exercise," says the Seventh-day Adventist. Regular, low-intensity exercise like daily walks appears to reduce the chances of having heart disease and certain cancers. Maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI) is also important. Adventists with healthy BMIs who keep active and eat meat sparingly, if at all, have lower blood pressure, lower blood cholesterol, and less cardiovascular disease than heavier Americans with higher BMIs.
—Text adapted from the National Geographic book Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest