The fastest growing population in the United States and Canada is centenarians--people who live to be 100 years or older.
This fact certainly appears to be true if Putnam County is an indication with several residents recently celebrating their 100th birthdays.
During 2008, Ina Armour and Eva Smith celebrated 100 year birthdays and Melba Brown turned 101 on December 30. Velma Jean Cosner and Alice Cooksey turned 95 and Bea Allen and Beatrice O'Conner were 90 years old.
The Boston University School of Medicine has a new study called the New England Centenarian Study, the most comprehensive study in the world of people 100 or older.
According to the recent data, there were over 84,300 centenarians in the U.S. in 2007 and more than 4,600 in Canada.
The oldest human being ever recorded is Madame Jeanne Calment, who was 122 when she died on August 4, 1997.
Her secret to longevity may have been genetic. She came from a family who all reached old age. She never worked but enjoyed a number of hobbies including tennis, cycling, swimming, roller-skating, piano playing and the opera. She also ate olive oil, drank port and used her mind.
Today the average life expectancy is at its highest point ever, although it is still not 100 years for most people. For Americans, it is 75 years for men and 80 years for women. Canadians can expect to hit 77.7 for men and 82.5 for women.
Studies show that people who come from long-living families have a greater chance of living a long time. And, it helps to be female. Only 17,309 centenarians in the U.S. are men. In Canada there are only 800 men.
Suggestions to help you live to 100 or more included taking it easy. Experts say centenarians tend to be easy-going people who aren't stressed or flustered.
Use your mind by learning new things, working puzzles or playing card games.
Stay physically active and keep an active social life.
Laugh a lot. Ina Armour's family members told the Banner Graphic in an interview about their mother, "that she always had fun and laughed. She still giggles now."
Other suggestions include staying trim and enjoy the sunshine sensibly. Studies show that vitamin D can improve life expectancy by slowing the progression of certain common diseases.
To see the study from Boston University visit the Archives of Internal Medicine at wwwarchinte.ama-assn.org.