Throughout human history there have been individuals who have lived well beyond normal life expectancy – ‘supercentenarians’ whose longevity has outstripped 110 years of age. But society has lacked a codified system of tracking and verifying these claims and separating fact from human error and false claims.
In 1990, however, L Stephen Coles MD PhD created the Gerontology Research Group (GRG) which, for the first time, could verify and catalogue these claims. This was part of the GRG’s mission statement to “slow and ultimately reverse age-related decline for more healthy years of life”.
In 2019, the Aging Analytics Agency, in association with the GRG, compiled the ‘Supercentenarians Landscape Overview’ report, highlighting some of the amazing personalities and demographics of the world’s confirmed supercentenarians.
Counter to past notions of supercentenarians being clustered in a few isolated regions, the updated worldview model based on GRG data shows that supercentenarians exist anywhere that population size and life expectancy are sufficient to support it.
“That is a positive for us all as it means that all groups have an opportunity to live to 110+, or at least to adapt the lifestyle practices of supercentenarians, as an attainable lifestyle goal,” says Robert D. Young, Director, GRG Supercentenarian Research and Database Division.
Female of the species
The report shows that the gender distribution of supercentenarians tilts heavily towards females across all continents – typically by a factor of 10. Even when the overall numbers are low – as is the case in Africa and Australia – the disparity remains.
In fact, the trend cuts across cultures and disparate environmental factors. Even within the Supercentenarian group, those at the highest end tend to be exclusively women. While it appears that the majority of socially active supercentenarians are women, it also appears that both men and women show very little chronic age-related conditions that would otherwise render them immobile.
Supercentenarians are frequently referred to as “living treasures” with their extensive first-hand experience, and being living connections to the distant past has strong cultural significance that may grant them a special place in society, which has a feedback effect on mental and emotional health.
Click here to read the full report.
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