When I bring it up to friends and family members that I am planning to live to 120 years, the kinds of questions and/or comments I get are:
“Wow, that is pretty gutsy to think that you can live to 120.”
“Why do you want to live that long?”
“I would probably not be around past 85.”
“I would not want to be around that long. It would be no fun. All
my contemporaries would all be gone.”
“My money won’t last that long.”
“What is the longest any one has lived?”
“How many people have lived over 100, 110, or 115?”
As I started wondering about these, I thought maybe I would start from the bottom of the list. Those questions certainly look easier.
So, what is the recent record of longevity for humans?
Wikipedia has some real good pages summarizing this information, for example, you can start with Oldest People and Super Centenarian.
1500 supercentenarians (those over 110) have been documented in history. There are 30 verified over 115 year olds.
The oldest ever lived was Jeanne Calment from France who died on 4 August 1997 at the age of 122 years, 164 days. Sarah Knauss from the United States came closest to 120; she died on 30 December 1999 at the age of 119 years and 97 days. Two died at 117 years, and five at 116 years.
The oldest currently living is Misao Okawa in Japan at the age of 116 years and 11 days. She is the 10th oldest so far.
In 2012, the UN estimated there to be 316,600 centenarians (over 100) living worldwide. The US has the highest number (53,364 per the 2010 Centenarian Special Report ). Per the report:
“In the period from 1980 to 2010, the centenarian population experienced a larger percentage increase than did the total population. The number of centenarians increased from 32,194 to 53,364, resulting in a 65.8% increase, while the total population increased 36.3 percent. Consequently, the centenarian population increased from 1.42 per 10,000 in 1980 to 1.73 per 10,000 in 2010.”
As an optimist, when I look at this data, it looks very encouraging to me. First, it is definitely viable to live to 120. It has already been done! Like the four-minute mile, someone has already shown the way.
Second, an increasing number of people are approaching that age with an increasing rate. So, at this rate, by the time my time arrives, dying at 120 will be as routine as dying at 100 today! It might not be very common, but it might not be that rare.
What do you think? How do you see these statistics?
Brian Roberts said:
Ashok, when we first started talking about this, I wasn’t sure what to think because 120 sounds so unattainable. Well…if you have good genes and live your life “purposely” to reach 100 and beyond, why ISN’T it attainable? It really is a mindset…conceive…believe…achieve, right?
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and research. I look forward to following this blog…and all those who follow it and add their thoughts, information and positive energy!
Brian, Thanks for your comment on this post. And, I agree.
However, the plot thickens as I research this topic further. Check out my next post, where I discuss how serious researchers claim the opposite.
I will be interested in your take on that post.
Do genes play a role in achieving those ages? Or it’s a set of lifestyle decisions or just luck?
This is a good question Suman and it goes to the heart of this whole matter.
Well, from all I have learned, it is not just any one thing but really all of the above. And, hence this blog for all that matters and how to optimize each of those variables.
The role of inherited genes that one has no control over seems to be shrinking every day with the research in epigenetics, that is, the study of which lifestyles choices turn which genes on or off. These days, inherited genes are considered to be play about 20% role in life/health span.
Luck or accidental deaths while not seemingly in one’s control can also be influenced by one’s choices. For example, fewer people die in car accidents if they buckle seat belt compared to those who do not.
In one of my later posts, https://wordpress.com/post/purposelyliveto120.com/496” I discuss various calculators that you can use to see how long you will live. These are based on as many as 50 to 70 independent variables in lifestyle choices, each of which can add or take away from life/health span. For example, do you wear a seat belt, do yo floss you teeth every day, do you live in urban area or rural area, in addition to the expected questions of nutrition, exercise, meditation, etc.
Hope this helps..
Wow- only 20%. I am going through your posts now..look forward to reading more on this topic.