Photo: Flickr/Pedro Ribeiro Simoes
Centenarians — those who live to the age of 100 and beyond — are in better physical health than old people that are years younger, according to a new study by the International Longevity Centre in UK (via The Daily Mail).Researchers also discovered that those who manage to reach the 100-year milestone have avoided many of the disabilities and diseases that affect people aged 85-99 years.
This does not necessarily mean that centenarians are in some way “superhuman,” but that good health tends to be a pre-condition for reaching very old age.
Alongside good genetics, lifestyle factors associated with “exceptional longevity” include healthy diet, exercise, and avoiding obesity and long-term heavy smoking.
An increase in centenarian populations is also attributed to better health care management, progress in medicine, and improvements in standards of living, the report says.
The United Nations estimates that there are currently 317,000 centenarians worldwide, a number that is expected to reach 3,224,000 million in 2050 and close to 18 million by the end of the century.
The model below provides population projections for the UK on the number of people alive today who are likely to live to be 100 or older. The percentage of future centenarians increases with decreasing age cohorts.
Photo: Living Beyond 100
Of course, living more than century has its obvious setbacks. According to the report, centenarians are at the greatest risk of poverty among the elderly population, with up to 10% of the oldest old (people over age 85) having a total net wealth of £3,000 (about $4,000) or less. That’s because centenarians have generally spent a longer time in retirement than working.
Centenarians are also more likely to experience loneliness and social isolation, the report adds.
You can download the full report here (PDF).
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