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Pre-July 2009 Press Archives

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3/4/2008 Students, professor present longevity research

McMINNVILLE – Collaborative research on longevity undertaken by a Linfield professor and her students will be the focus of the next faculty lecture at Linfield College.

Dawn Graff-Haight, professor of health education, will present "Understanding Longevity: Comparing Japanese and American Lifestyle and Cultural Factors" on Wednesday, March 12, at 7:30 p.m. in 201 Riley Hall at Linfield.

Graff-Haight will describe the outcomes of an action research project undertaken by Linfield students during a three-week travel course to Japan last year. Students conducted interviews and participated in field trips, cultural activities and home stays to compare Japanese and American lifestyle and cultural factors. In addition, students examined differences between age groups that suggest trends that may impact longevity.

In January 2007, a group of 15 Linfield students traveled to Japan for a three-week course called Culture, Lifestyle and Japanese Longevity. Japan boasts the longest lifespan in the world, and Fukui Prefecture has the second longest lifespan for both men and women in Japan.

Prior to departing for Japan, each student conducted interviews of Americans in four age groups. They also completed individual reports and delivered presentations on selected topics related to Japanese lifestyle and culture. Once students arrived in Japan, they conducted interviews of people from Fukui Prefecture. In addition, students maintained daily reflective journals of their experience. During the final week of the trip, students compiled the findings of their action research project which were then presented at a symposium on longevity held in Tokyo, Japan.

Key findings identified differences in dietary patterns, daily activity, health care access, family/community connections and economic stability as factors influencing longevity. Students made recommendations for promoting long life and identified trends that could impact longevity.

Graff-Haight, a member of the Linfield faculty since 1996, holds bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Wisconsin – LaCrosse and a Ph.D. from Oregon State University.

The lecture is free and open to the public. The Linfield College faculty lecture series offers one presentation each month by a member of the Linfield faculty. For more information, call 503-883-2409.