By Sharon Jayson
Kaiser Health News
Gertrude Siegel is 101 and hears it all the time. “Everyone says ‘I want to be just like you.’ I tell them to get in line,” she said.
John and Charlotte Henderson, 104 and 102, often field questions from wannabes eager to learn their secrets.
“Living in moderation,” he said. “We never overdo anything. Eat well. Sleep well. Don’t overdrink. Don’t overeat. And exercise regularly.”
Mac Miller, who is 102, has a standard reply.
“People ask me ‘What is the secret?’ The answer is simple. Choose the right grandparents. They were in their 80s. My mother was 89, and my father was 93,” he said.
Genetics and behaviors do play roles in determining why some people live to be 100 or older while others don’t, but they aren’t guarantees.
And now, as increasing numbers are reaching triple digits, figuring out the mysteries of longevity has taken on new importance among researchers.
Although those 100 and older make up a tiny segment of America’s population, U.S. Census reports show that centenarian ranks are growing. Between 1980 and 2010, the numbers rose from 32,194 to 53,364, an increase of almost 66 percent. The latest population estimate, released in July 2015, reflects 76,974 centenarians.
“The number of centenarians in the U.S. and other countries has been doubling roughly every eight years,” said James Vaupel, founding director of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany.
“When the baby boomers hit, there’s going to be acceleration, and it might be doubling every five or six years,” he said. [Read more…] about Want to live past 100? Centenarians share secrets of knee bends and nips of scotch