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More People are Living Longer but None Has Reached
U.S. leads the world with four oldest people
including women and a Puerto Rican man
By Tucker Sutherland, editor
Is he 130?
Dec. 3, 2005 – The Yemen Observer reported last
week on a man there that claims to be 130 years old. There is apparently
no way to verify his age and Saeed Bin Saeed Al-Humri will most likely
disappear among many others, particularly from countries that did little
years ago to document births, who have claimed to be the oldest living
person. Officially, no person has ever celebrated a 123rd birthday.
The oldest person every officially document was
Jeanne-Louise Calment, who died at 122 years and 164 days old on August
4, 1997 in her native France. According to Guinness World Records, "she
led an extremely active life, taking up fencing at 85 years old, and was
still riding a bicycle at 100. She portrayed herself at the age of 114
in the film "Vincent And Me," to become the oldest actress in film.
Is Maria da Silva 125?
A Brazilian woman, Maria Olivia da Silva of São
Paulo, reportedly turned 125 in February. The story was reported by the
Associated Press, but neither the Gerontology Research Group nor the
Guinness World Records have been able to verify the claim.
Al-Humri has no documents to prove his
age by he does have a grandson who is a grandfather. He also has 281
direct relatives to whom he is either a father or a grandfather, while
the numbers of his direct family who have died are even higher,
according to the Yemen newspaper.
|Bolden now oldest person.
Photo by Dave Darnell, Memphis Commercial Appeal
The Gerontology Research Group (GRG) validates
Supercentenarians - anyone who has lived to be 110 years or older. They
currently recognize 72 "Validated Living Supercentenarians" -- 64 women
and 8 men.
They say, however, the actual number of worldwide
living Supercentenarians is more likely to be between 300 and 450
persons. For the USA, they estimate there are 60 to 75.
"It should be noted that a significant majority of
worldwide claimants to be age 110-or-over have subsequently been proven
to be false;" the GRG says on their website. "These individuals and more
often their family or friends have their own personal motives for
claiming these persons and, we are sad to report, are occasionally
other countries get most of the favorable publicity about aging longer,
it is the U.S. that currently holds the top three spots in the ranking
of the oldest living people – all three are women. And, the fourth spot
is help by a man from the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.
There are actually 12 U.S. citizens in the top 24
on the list maintained by the GRG. The first three are U.S. women from
the South and all are 115 years old - Elizabeth "Lissie" Bolden,
Tennessee; Bettie Wilson, Mississippi, and Susie Gibson, Mississippi.
||Emiliano del Toro - oldest
In fourth place is Emiliano Mercado del Toro, 114,
from Puerto Rico, who is also the oldest living man and oldest U.S. army
But, a team of researchers led by University of
Illinois at Chicago professor S. Jay Olshansky predicted in March of
this year that the U.S. will see a decline in life expectancy later this
century due to "the dramatic rise in obesity."
The study suggested that obesity currently reduces
life expectancy by approximately four to nine months. The researchers
said the life-shortening effect of obesity could rise so rapidly in the
United States -- from two to five years in the next 50 years -- that it
may eventually exceed the current life-shortening effects of cancer or
ischemic heart disease.
The study generated publicity but did not get a lot
of support from those who study aging and see a continued climb in U.S.
It was also counted by a study released in August
that said being obese at 70 years old doesn’t have much bearing on how
long men or women are going to live. But, both obese men and women will
have less “active years’ than their non-obese fellow senior citizens.
They studied over 7,000 senior citizens and found those who reach the
age of 70 are at no greater risk of dying than their non-obese
counterparts, but they do have a much greater probability of spending
their remaining years disabled.
obesity study may have helped motivate the National Geographic Magazine
to feature "The Secrets of Long Life" in their November issue.
The magazine visited three regions where people are
reaching age 100 at "astonishing rates:" Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa,
Japan; and Loma Linda, Calif.
Residents of these three places are longevity
all-stars, suffer a fraction of the diseases that commonly kill people
in other parts of the developed world, and enjoy more healthy years of
life, according to the magazine.
"Their shared "best practices," if implemented in
daily life, could add a decade to one's lifespan," the National
Geographic said in promoting the issue. "Of course, genes do play a role
in determining longevity, but lifestyle is well-known to be a
significant determining factor."
Despite all the focus on how the world is living
longer, the GRG says "there is no statistical evidence to support the
hypothesis that the absolute number of Supercentenarians is increasing
as a percentage of the total population."
But, a recent report by the United Nations said
global life expectancy at birth, which is estimated to have risen from
46 years in 1950-1955 to 65 years in 2000-2005, is expected to keep on
rising to reach 75 years in 2045-2050. In the more developed regions,
the projected increase is from 75 years today to 82 years by
Korea is expected to have the highest proportion of
senior citizens in the world by 2050 – 37.3 percent. They project to
beat Japan (36.5%), Italy (34.4%), and the U.S. (21.1%). The global
elderly population is expected to be 15.9 percent in 2050, according to
projections by the U.N.
There are 36 million senior citizens in the U.S.
today but this will grow to 87 million by 2050, says the U.N. study.
In the most recent study by the U.S. Census Bureau,
the total U.S. population increased 3.3 percent between 2000 and 2003
but the population 65 and older increased only 2.6 percent. A “birth
dearth” during the late 1920s and early 1930s was largely responsible
for the slow growth of this group. But, the population 85 and older grew
by 11 percent, faster than any other age group.
Another study by the Society of Actuaries in
partnership with researchers at the Center on Aging and the National
Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago found the number of
U.S. centenarians has increased by 51 percent in the 10-year period from
Jan. 1, 1990 to Jan. 1, 2000.
So, certainly the evidence is mounting that we are
living longer, particularly in the U.S., and someone may soon reach that
magical 123rd birthday.
New Picture of Senior, Boomer Populations in Census
Nov. 11, 2005 – This week the U.S. Census Bureau
released the Population Profile of the U.S. for 2003 that looks at
changes since the 2000 census. The bureau also produced a unique graphic
of the population that provides a clear picture of the baby boomer bulge
and the demise of the older population. The population over age 65 did
not grow as fast as the rest of the population but the good news is that
the 85 and older age group expanded more than three times as fast as the
rest of the population.
Chances of Joining Centenarians Best for First Born
Daughters of Farmers
Also helps with birthday in January, raised on farm
in the West
Nov. 8, 2005 – Centenarians (people living to age
100) represent one of the fastest-growing age groups in America -
increasing by 4.1 percent a year. But, if you want to be a member of
this elite group, your chances are best if you are a first born daughter
from a large family, have a birthday in January and were raised on a
farm in the West.
Americans Becoming New Longevity Record Setters: 14
of Oldest 30
Twenty of oldest 30 people in the world are from U.S.
Sept. 8, 2005 – Americans have generally not been
noted for setting longevity records. The oldest people seem to usually
be in Japan or a colder region, like Sweden or Norway. All of a sudden,
that appears to be changing with Americans now representing almost half
of the 30 oldest people in the world and holding the top three positions
in the rankings. Only two men are on the list - one American and one
American Woman Becomes World’s Oldest Living Person
U.S. now holds top three spots on list of oldest
Aug. 31, 2005 – An American woman, Elizabeth
"Lizzie" Bolden, 115 years and 14 days old, has officially become the
oldest living person and woman in the world, according to an
announcement by the Guinness World Records. The previous title holder,
Hendrikje Van Andel-Schipper of the Netherlands, died in her sleep at 2
a.m. yesterday. She was 115 years and 62 days old.
Being Obese Seniors Does Not Effect Longevity, Just
Years We Spend Disabled
Aug. 3, 2005 – Being obese at 70 years old doesn’t
have much bearing on how long men or women are going to live. But, both
obese men and women will have less “active years’ than their non-obese
fellow senior citizens. That’s what researchers have found in studying
over 7,000 senior citizens.
How Old is Old?
Most Think Old is 71, Seniors Edge Their Choices
July 27, 2005 - As might be expected, as age
increases so too does the choice of an age as being “old.” Thirty
percent of those under 30 say 61 to 70 is old, while more than two in three
50 to 64 year olds say over 71 is old. Almost six in ten over age 65 say
over 71 is old. No one 65 and older thinks 41 to 50 is old. The MetLife
Mature Market Institute commissioned Zogby International to conduct the
telephone survey to determine what age Americans believed was old, and
how old they wish they were.
Oldest Living Woman Challenge Fades Away
Claims Brazilian is 125 never verified by world
July 17, 2005 - Hendrikje Van Andel-Schipper, who
turned 115 years old on June 29, is holding on to her title as the
world’s oldest living woman, despite challenges that emerged earlier
this year claiming a Brazilian woman, Maria Olivia da Silva of São
Paulo, turned 125 in February. The story was reported by the Associated
Press, but neither the Gerontology Research Group nor the Guinness World
Records have verified the claim.
Aging Surge Poses Challenge for States
Kathleen Murphy, Stateline.org
July 1, 2005 - State leaders are getting gray hair
worrying about the impending impact of America’s aging population, but
they're only slowly taking steps to meet the challenges that will arise
as post-World War Two baby boomers start reaching retirement age in
Twins Pass 98, Going for Title as Oldest Female
June 15, 2005 – Grace L. Campbell and Edith M.
Ritzi celebrated their 98th birthday on May 22 and they many not be the
oldest living female twins but they sure must be in the running. They
were born in 1907 - Teddy Roosevelt was President, the Ziegfeld Follies
were being introduced, Oklahoma became a state and a first class stamp
cost two cents.
Husband in World’s Longest Marriage Dies at 105
claimed the secret to his long marriage was “Yes Dear”
June 15, 2005 – The man who claimed the secret to
his 80 years of marriage was “Yes Dear” has died at the age of 105, only
two weeks after celebrating his anniversary on June 1 with wife,
Florence, who is 100. Percy Arrowsmith died at his home in Hereford,
England. They were honored on their anniversary by the Guinness World
Records for the longest marriage of a living couple and the oldest
married couple in aggregate age.
Profile of Older Americans: 2004 Released Online
May 31, 2005 - The online version of “A Profile of
Older Americans: 2004” was released today by the Administration on
Aging. This electronic version of the popular information package has
the latest statistics on older Americans in key subject areas. It
includes both narrative and statistical charts.
And many more can be found on the Senior Statistics
Page - click here
For the full story in the Yemen Observer –
Click here to report in Guinness World Records
National Geographic Magazine, November 2005, promotion
Gerontology Research Group
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