Okinawa, the southernmost island of Japa, is known worldwide for the age and health of its inhabitants. However, western influence from a strong US military presence has resulted in deteriorating health that is being touted as a future healthcare crisis.
Lifestyle diseases, including diabetes, are beginning to eat into the Japanese healthcare budget . Health costs are growing faster than the pace of economic expansion. Currently, 8.2 per cent of the population of Okinawa has diabetes. The global diabetes population now exceeds 230 million people, a figure growing because of sedentary ways of life and unhealthy diets.
Obesity and being overweight are serious problems in Okinawa, where approximately half or men and a quarter of women fall into this category. Apparently, Okinawa doctors place the blame on US influences including hamburgers, French fries and tinned meat. Apparently Okinawa also has over 100 fast-food outlets that are very popular, no doubt another contributory factor to the growing incidence of diabetes.
Traditional Okinawan diet included fish, soy, seaweeds, vegetables and pork, and those who have retained more traditional diets are healthier than their peers.

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