Fountain of Youth – Loma Linda, California/USA
Episode 5 of 5 of the series Fountain of Youth by Yousif Al-Chalabi
Germany | 2014 | Documentary | 45 min
Eternal youth: the dream of humanity. Over the past century, the industrialized world has undergone a health revolution: people grow older today than at any point in the history of the human race. Deadly plagues and diseases have been eradicated, technological progress has given us food to spare and effortless mobility. But new diseases have crept into modern life such as cancer and dementia, which we increasingly seek to combat using science and technology. We are getting older, but we also have to fear serious illness in our old age. Could it be possible to become old in years while simultaneously maintaining the health of youth? Certain regions around the world seem to have found the secret. Here, a striking number of centenarians roam about. Old people enjoy an agility and alertness belying their years, working and playing with seemingly no effort. What is their secret? Using stylishly modern and highly cinematic images, the series Fountain of Youth transports the viewer to five different regions around the world.
In the middle of southern California lies a small city that tops the age expectancy charts in the USA. More astonishing yet, Loma Linda boasts a record low rate of civilization diseases. In a country that has been criticized as the birthplace of wastefulness, a small church community has formed a healthy counterrevolution. At first glance, nothing seems different here to the rest of the industrialized West: people drive to the supermarket and live in detached single-family houses. Nevertheless, a few simple life rules followed by the community of Seventh-Day Adventists have led to its members living eight years longer than the average Californian. Modernity and a long and healthy life can coexist after all. Should this fountain of youth stand as an example to us all?