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Women can take health cues from the rest of the world

North American women may want to take health advice from women in other areas of the world. As it turns out, international women may have the secrets to living longer and avoiding medical conditions that seem to plague women in the U.S. and Canada.

Here's how women across the globe are living longer, healthier lives.

* Practice portion control. Although you've probably heard it before, reducing the amount that you eat can have its benefits, including weight loss. Many people remark how the French dine on cheese and butter and still manage to stay skinny. That is because they are eating in moderation, not making an entire meal out of two pounds of cheese. Smaller portions and maintaining an active lifestyle are two ways that many French women stay slim and healthy.

* Go heart-healthy. The "Mediterranean Diet" has been touted in recent years. Women in Italy and Greece set a good example by serving foods that are rich in heart-healthy antioxidants and good fats. Nuts, whole grains, fish and olives are hearty and heart-healthy foods. Mediterranean cultures also use wine to improve heart health, help prevent cancer and slow the progression of neurological diseases, like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. Studies have also shown that moderate amounts of alcohol can raise your good cholesterol and thin your blood.

* Stay active in your community. Japanese culture emphasizes family connections and maintaining an extensive support system. The Japanese stay active into older adulthood, which could be why the island region of Okinawa is known for having the highest concentration of centenarians in the world. According to research, Okinawans, when compared to Americans, have an 80 percent lower rate of many cancers, including ovarian and breast cancer.

* Eat locally: Do you want to look like a flaxen-haired Scandinavian woman? Many do. Northern Europeans tend to eat farm-to-table, which means consuming things that they or their neighbors have grown and raised. Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish, in combination with native vegetables and berries help keep obesity statistics very low. Scandinavians also eat game birds and elk, which produce meat that tends to be leaner than the types of farm-raised livestock North Americans rely on.

Adopting the healthy habits of others across the globe can help North American women live longer, healthier and more productive lives.