Volume 4 Issue 4

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 23 of 55

Researchers have the advantage of an ever-growing pool of centenarians and supercentenarians. Supercentenarians are those rare individuals who live past 110. Both demographics are growing. And the good news is, most centenarians and supercentenarians are quite healthy un l very near the end of their lives. Research tell us that the older the age group, the later the onset of degenera ve diseases and cogni ve decline. Here are a few interes ng facts about centenarians—who now represent the fastest growing segment of the American popula on: • One quarter of children born today are expected to live beyond 100 whereas only one in 26 baby boomers will reach the century mark • There are between 96,000 and 105,000 centenarians living in the US, and about 12,640 in the UK • Research indicates that the number of American centenarians has been doubling every decade since the 1950s; by 2050, the number of centenarians living in the US is expected to pass one million • There are about 65 verified supercentenarians living today, but unofficial es mates are as high as 350 • Approximately eight of every nine Centenarians are women; 19 percent use cell phones, 12 percent use the Internet, and three percent have par cipated in online da ng What's Their Secret? Scien fic explana ons for longevity remain elusive. Researchers studying centenarians agree: there is no specific pa ern. There appears to be a connec on between your longevity and the age your mother gave birth. Researchers at the University of Chicago Center on Aging found that if your mother was under age 25 when you were born, your chances of reaching age 100 are twice as high as for someone whose mother was older than 25. How Centenarians Explain Their Longevity This presumably has something to do with the robustness of a woman's eggs over me, but this is just one poten al factor among many. According to Israeli physician Nir Barzilai of the Ins tute for Aging Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York: "There is no pa ern. The usual recommenda ons for a healthy life—not smoking, not drinking, plenty of exercise, a well-balanced diet, keeping your weight down—they apply to us average people. But not to them. Centenarians are in a class of their own." Based on years of data from studying centenarians, Barzilai reports that when analyzing the data from his par cular pool of centenarians, at age 70: • 37 percent were overweight • 8 percent were obese • 37 percent were smokers (for an average of 31 years) • 44 percent reported only moderate exercise • 20 percent never exercised at all Despite this, centenarians as a popula on have 60 percent lower rates of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. Depression and other psychiatric illnesses are almost nonexistent. Barzilai is quick to emphasize you should not disregard the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices (such as keeping your insulin level low). He explains: "Today's changes in lifestyle do in fact contribute to whether someone dies at the age of 85 or before age 75. But in order to reach the age of 100, you need a special gene c make-up. These people age differently. Slower. They end up dying of the same diseases that we do—but 30 years later and usually quicker, without languishing for long periods." What the Elders Themselves Have to Say The majority of centenarians do not feel their chronological age; on average, they report feeling 20 years younger. They also tend to have posi ve a tudes, op mism, and a zest for life. Could it be that personality characteris cs and worldviews play a more significant role than gene cs, diet, or exercise? One way to determine this is to ask centenarians ques ons about how they see the world, what they value, and to what they a ribute their own longevity. What are their secrets to aging well? These individuals represent centuries of wisdom that should not be overlooked. So that's what researchers are How Centenarians Explain Their Longevity How Centenarians Explain Their Longevity How Centenarians Explain Their Longevity Page 24 | Abby's Magazine -

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Abby's - Volume 4 Issue 4