New US research has found that if you want to live to a ripe old age, even making it to 100, then where you live might affect your chances.
Carried out by scientists at Washington State University’s Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, the new study looked at data on nearly 145,000 deceased adults who had lived in Washington State and died at age 75 or older.
The researchers analyzed information on each person’s age, sex, race, education level, marital status and where they lived at their time of death, which they then assessed for various factors including the area’s walkability, levels of air pollution and amount of green space.
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Living in an area which is highly walkable could help you live to a ripe old age, according to new research.
The findings, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, showed that those who had lived in highly walkable areas, and in areas where there was a diverse mix of ages, were more likely to live to their 100th birthday.
A further analysis also showed that living in an urban area or smaller town which has a higher socioeconomic status was also associated with a longer life.
Other factors linked with reaching centenarian age included being widowed, divorced, separated or never married, compared to being married, and being white or female.
Related Slideshow: Super-centenarians from around the world (Provided by Photo Services)
Kane Tanaka (Jan. 2, 1903- ), Japan Julia Flores Colque (Oct. 26, 1900- ), Bolivia Saparman Sodimejo (146 years, 120 days), Indonesia Koku Istambulova (129 years, 240 days), Russia Tanzilya Bisembeyeva (123 years), Russia Jeanne Calment (122 years, 164 days), France Nabi Tajima (117 years, 260 days), Japan Marie-Louise Febronie Meilleur (117 years, 230 days), Canada Violet Brown (117 years, 189 days), Jamaica Emma Martina Luigia Morano (117 years, 137 days), Italy Misao Okawa (117 years, 27 days), Japan María Capovilla (116 years, 347 days), Ecuador Susannah Mushatt Jones (116 years, 311 days), US Gertrude Weaver (116 years, 276 days), US Besse Cooper (116 years, 100 days), US Jiroemon Kimura (116 years, 54 days), Japan Jeralean Talley (116 years, 25 days), US Christian Mortensen (115 years, 252 days), Denmark Edna Parker (115 years, 220 days), US Bernice Madigan (115 years, 163 days), US Gertrude Baines (115 years, 158 days), US Honorine Rondello (114 years, 83 days), France Yisrael Kristal (113 years, 330 days), Israel Masazo Nonaka (113 years, 179 days), Japan Francisco Nuñez Olivera (113 years, 47 days), Spain Chitetsu Watanabe (112 years, 355 days), Japan Yasutaro Koide (112 years, 312 days), Japan Richard Overton (112 years, 230 days), US Sakari Momoi (112 years, 152 days), Japan Bob Weighton (112 years, 60 days), England
Kane Tanaka (Jan. 2, 1903- ), Japan
The 117-year-old Japanese woman is the world’s oldest living person. Residing in Fukuoka, she enjoys playing the board game Othello and studying mathematics. Usually a morning person, she also practices calligraphy in her free time.
Julia Flores Colque (Oct. 26, 1900- ), Bolivia
Although she might be nearly 119 years old, Colque still strums her traditional charango guitar and sings indigenous Quechua songs with ease. A resident of the town of Sacaba, she has “always been active, easy-going and fun,” according to grandniece Agustina Berna.
Saparman Sodimejo (146 years, 120 days), Indonesia
Dec. 31, 1870 – April 30, 2017
Also known as Mbah Gotho (grandpa Gotho), Sodimejo died in his village in Central Java. There are conflicting reports about his age, since Indonesia only started recording births in 1900. However, he possessed an identity card verified by the Indonesian records office, which listed Dec. 31, 1870 as his date of birth. In a BBC interview, Ghoto said patience and love of his people were reasons for his long life.
Koku Istambulova (129 years, 240 days), Russia
June 1, 1889 – Jan. 27, 2019
Istambulova died in Russia’s Chechnya region and was buried in her native village of Bratskoye on Jan. 27, 2019, according to news agency TASS. Her date of birth had been confirmed by the Russian government based on her internal passport. She had attributed her longevity to “God’s will.” On her 129th birthday in 2018, she said: “I did nothing to make it happen. I see people going in for sports, eating something special, keeping themselves fit, but I have no idea how I lived until now.”
Tanzilya Bisembeyeva (123 years), Russia
March 14, 1896 – October, 2019
Considered to be Russia’s oldest person, Bisembeyeva died in the Astrakhan region of the country. The news was confirmed on Oct. 30, 2019, by her relatives and local officials, who reported that she was buried on Oct. 26 in her native village. She entered the Russian Book of World Records as the world’s oldest living person in 2016; however, the claim was not confirmed by international entities. She is survived by three sons, 10 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.
Jeanne Calment (122 years, 164 days), France
Feb. 21, 1875 – Aug. 4, 1997
Calment made it to the Guinness Book of Records in 1993 as the oldest living person; reliable records authenticated her birth date. According to a report on CNN, she attributed her long life to an olive oil-rich diet, port wine and a sense of humor.
Nabi Tajima (117 years, 260 days), Japan
Aug. 4, 1900 – April 21, 2018
Tajima had nearly 160 descendants, including great-great-great grandchildren. She credited her longevity to eating delicious food and sound sleep, according to the Gerontology Research Group, an organization that tracks supercentenarians.
Marie-Louise Febronie Meilleur (117 years, 230 days), Canada
Aug. 29, 1880 – April 16, 1998
Meilleur, who was born in Kamouraska, Quebec, Canada, believed the secret to her long life was hard work. She quit smoking at the age of 90 but was known to enjoy a glass of wine.
Violet Brown (117 years, 189 days), Jamaica
March 10, 1900 – Sept. 15, 2017
When she was alive, Brown, who lived in the hills of western Jamaica, held two Guinness World Records titles – the world’s oldest person and oldest woman. When she was 110, she told a local paper: “Really and truly, when people ask me what [to] eat and drink to live so long, I say to them I eat everything, except pork and chicken, and I don’t drink rum and them things.”
Emma Martina Luigia Morano (117 years, 137 days), Italy
Nov. 29, 1899 – April 15, 2017
Morano became the oldest person in Europe after the death of Maria Redaelli in early 2013. She was confirmed as the oldest living person by Guinness World Records in May 2016. Morano attributed her longevity to her daily diet, which included two raw eggs and a little minced meat, reported The Guardian.
Misao Okawa (117 years, 27 days), Japan
March 5, 1898 – April 1, 2015
Okawa died of heart failure less than a month after her 117th birthday. The Guinness World Records organization recognized her as the world’s oldest living woman in 2013. In an interview with The Telegraph, she attributed her long life to eating well, getting eight hours of sleep every night and regular naps.
María Capovilla (116 years, 347 days), Ecuador
Sept. 14, 1889 – Aug. 27, 2006
Capovilla died in Ecuador after succumbing to pneumonia. According to a report in the BBC, Capovilla’s family believed the secret to her long life may have been “donkey milk.”
Susannah Mushatt Jones (116 years, 311 days), US
July 6, 1899 – May 12, 2016
Jones was the last living American born in the 19th century. She believed that the secret to her long life was getting a good night’s sleep and not drinking or smoking.
Gertrude Weaver (116 years, 276 days), US
July 4, 1898 – April 6, 2015
Weaver died just days after becoming the world’s oldest person. She spent her time studying the Bible and liked regular manicures. She once told Time magazine that her secret to longevity was “kindness.” “Treat people right and be nice to other people the way you want them to be nice to you,” she said.
Besse Cooper (116 years, 100 days), US
Aug. 26, 1896 – Dec. 4, 2012
The day she turned 115, Cooper revealed her secret to long life to the Guinness World Records and said, “I mind my own business and I don’t eat junk food.” At the time of her death, she was survived by 12 grandchildren and a dozen great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.
Jiroemon Kimura (116 years, 54 days), Japan
April 19, 1897 – June 12, 2013
Kimura’s motto in life was “to eat light to live long,” according to a BBC report. “Maybe it’s all thanks to the sun above me,” he was quoted as saying. “I am always looking up toward the sky, that is how I am,” he added.
Jeralean Talley (116 years, 25 days), US
May 23, 1899 – June 17, 2015
Talley held the record for the oldest person after the death of two women, who held the title before her, died in the same week – 117-year-old Misao Okawa on April 1, 2015 and 116-year-old Gertude Weaver on April 6, 2015. She ascribed her long life to having faith in God and being kind to others.
Christian Mortensen (115 years, 252 days), Denmark
Aug. 16, 1882 – April 25, 1998
On the occasion of his 115th birthday, Mortensen disclosed the secret to his longevity in an interview with The New York Times. “Friends, a good cigar, drinking lots of good water, no alcohol, staying positive and lots of singing will keep you alive for a long time,” he said.
Edna Parker (115 years, 220 days), US
April 20, 1893 – Nov. 26, 2008
Parker, who lived alone on her family farm until she was 100, credited her long life to various factors, which included education and being relatively free of health problems in her last years, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. According to her family members, she took limited medication and could still walk at the age of 113. She spent her final years at the Heritage House Convalescent Center in Shelbyville.
Bernice Madigan (115 years, 163 days), US
July 24, 1899 – Jan. 3, 2015
Madigan credited her longevity to no children, no stress and a spoonful of honey every day, according to a report in The Boston Globe.
Gertrude Baines (115 years, 158 days), US
April 6, 1894 – Sept. 11, 2009
Till her death, Baines was the oldest person of African descent in the U.S. In an interview with CNN, she responded to questions about the secret behind her long life with a shrug and said, “Ask Him (referring to God).”
Honorine Rondello (114 years, 83 days), France
July 28, 1903 – Oct. 19, 2017
Considered the country’s oldest person, Rondello began working in her teens and retired when she turned 73. She shifted to a retirement home in 2010. Rondello claimed she didn’t know the secret behind her longevity but kept herself occupied by following the news and reading.
Yisrael Kristal (113 years, 330 days), Israel
Sept. 15, 1903 – Aug. 11, 2017
Kristal, a Holocaust survivor, died a month short of his 114th birthday. At the time of his entry into the Guinness World Records book in 2016, he said: “I don’t know the secret for long life. I believe that everything is determined from above and we shall never know the reasons why. There have been smarter, stronger and
better looking men than me who are no longer alive. All that is left for us to do is to keep on working as hard as we can and rebuild what is lost.”
Masazo Nonaka (113 years, 179 days), Japan
July 25, 1905 – Jan. 20, 2019
Nonaka, confirmed as the oldest living man by Guinness World Records in April 2018, died peacefully in his sleep at his home in northern Japan on Jan. 20, 2019. In an interview in 2018, he credited his longevity to eating sweets and soaking in hot springs.
Francisco Nuñez Olivera (113 years, 47 days), Spain
Dec. 13, 1904 – Jan. 29, 2018
He was the oldest living man prior to his death a month after his 113th birthday, according to Guinness World Records. The retired farmer lived in the village of Bienvenida in south-west Spain. Olivera told a local newspaper that his secret to a long life was “good genes, hard work, a varied diet of homegrown vegetables and a daily glass of red wine.”
Chitetsu Watanabe (112 years, 355 days), Japan
March 5, 1907 – Feb. 23, 2020
Watanabe made it to the Guinness Book of Records on Feb. 12, 2020, as the oldest living male. He received the honor following the death of Japanese citizen Masazo Nonaka (113 years, 179 days old) on Jan. 20, 2020. Watanabe was born in the village of Uragawara (now Joetsu) in Niigata. In January 2019, during an interview for a local paper, he said that the secret to his longevity was “not to get angry and keep a smile on your face.”
Yasutaro Koide (112 years, 312 days), Japan
March 13, 1903 – Jan. 19, 2016
Declared the world’s oldest man by Guinness World Records in August 2015, Koide said the key to his long life was avoiding smoking or drinking and taking things easy.
Richard Overton (112 years, 230 days), US
May 11, 1906 – Dec. 27, 2018
The World War II veteran was believed to be the oldest man in the U.S. He had been hospitalized with pneumonia and released a few days before he breathed his last. In an interview with CNN, he credited his long life to smoking cigars and drinking whiskey in coffee.
Sakari Momoi (112 years, 152 days), Japan
Feb. 5, 1903 – July 5, 2015
During a ceremony organized by Guinness World Records in August 2014 to award Momoi a plaque confirming his record as the world’s oldest man record, he said he wanted to live for two more years. He credited his long life to a healthy diet and plenty of sleep.
Bob Weighton (112 years, 60 days), England
March 29, 1908 – May 28, 2020
Britain’s oldest man, who became the world’s oldest living male on March 30, 2020, after the death of the previous holder of the title in Japan, died after battling with cancer. In an interview with the Telegraph, he said: “I’ve eaten food I never thought I’d eat, made friends with people I never thought I would meet and been places I never thought I would go – but I’m not sure there really is a secret to living so long.”
“Our study adds to the growing body of evidence that social and environmental factors contribute significantly to longevity,” said study author Rajan Bhardwaj, who adds that previous research has estimated that genetics explain only around 20 to 35 percent of someone’s chance of reaching centenarian age, meaning other factors are at play.
“We know from previous research that you can modify, through behavior, your susceptibility to different diseases based on your genetics,” added senior author Ofer Amram. In other words, living in an environment that boosts healthy aging could affect your genetic chance of living a long life.
“These findings indicate that mixed-age communities are very beneficial for everyone involved,” said Bhardwaj. “They also support the big push in growing urban centers toward making streets more walkable, which makes exercise more accessible to older adults and makes it easier for them to access medical care and grocery stores.”