While many residents of Loma Linda may keep healthy by eating well, exercising and volunteering, another aspect that might be overlooked is religion. Nine-thousand Loma Lindans—about half of the town's population—are members of Seventh Day Adventist Church, which emphasizes a very strict observance of the sabbath. "For 24 hours every week no matter how stressed out, no matter where the kids need to be driven to, they stop everything," Dan says. "From Friday night until Saturday night, they focus on their God, their family, their community."
Dan believes that being a member of a community where everyone has the same values can add quality years to your life. Dr. Oz says that showing gratitude is another reason why people in these communities have such long and healthy lives. "If you're grateful for the things that have always happened to you, sometimes they're not always good, but you find lessons and meaning in them," Dr. Oz says. "Hope isn't about a good outcome. It's about making sense of stuff. And these people have made sense of their life, and they do it all the time."