March 31, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

This is interesting: where centenarians live

Which countries in Europe have the most residents who celebrated their 100th anniversary? Where is Greece located and why?

In January, at the age of 118, the world’s oldest resident, French nun Sister Andre, Lucile Randon, died. In recent decades, there has been a tendency in the world and Europe to increase the number of centenarians and even super centenarians – the age of the latter exceeds 110 years. Scientists claim that it will persist.

According to Eurostat, by the middle of the century, that is, by 2050, more than half a million people who have crossed the 100-year mark will live in European countries. Today there are about 130 thousand of them, and in the whole world – more than 530 thousand. According to studies, most often live to 100 years in France (all data for 2021). And the places in this unique list of countries where citizens who have crossed the century boundary live were distributed as follows:

In France, there are 25,976 centenarians over 100 years old, in Germany – 20,465, in Russia with a population of 145 million – about 23,000, in Italy – 17,177 people. These are the leaders. At the bottom of the list are small countries: there are only 116 people in Malta, 84 in Luxembourg, and 43 in Iceland. In all European countries, 129,664 centenarians over 100 years old lived in 2021.

However, a much more reliable indicator is one that shows the relationship between the total population and the number of centenarians in each country. To do this, let’s look at the number of people over the age of 100 per 100,000 inhabitants. In this case, one country has gone far ahead, confidently occupying the first place in the number of centenarians – 126 people per 100,000 population. And this is Greece. Portugal (49 per 100,000) and Ireland (44 per 100,000) follow by a wide margin.

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How can one explain the huge number of centenarians among the inhabitants of Greece? Quite possibly, it’s all about the virtues of the famous Mediterranean diet, with lots of olive oil and seafood. Greek gerontologists became interested in the phenomenon of special longevity of the inhabitants of the island of Ikaria. Here, for example, are the factors that affect life expectancy, according to Dr. Christodoulos Stephanadis:

“The environment, sociability and sociability, constant contact during local holidays, modest meals, midday naps, walks, exercise – all these are elements that are not easy to find in other places. They seem to affect the well-being of residents. Another important factor is the low dose of radiation in the northern part of the island.While we know that radioactivity causes cancer and other damage, very low doses appear to promote good health.”

Country average EU – 22 centenarians per 100,000 population, about the same as in the UK (23) and Switzerland (22). For comparison: in Russia there are 16 centenarians over 100 years old per 100,000 inhabitants. At the bottom of the ranking: Czech Republic (8), Bulgaria (5), Croatia (3).

And a little about gender differences. Women, studies show, are more likely to celebrate their centenary, significantly outnumbering male centenarians. In the European Union, women make up more than 76% of all 100-year-old pensioners. This is due to several factors:

  • life expectancy in men is lower than in women;
  • women who are now 100 years old suffered much less from the Second World War and other wars of the twentieth century;
  • women are much less likely to suffer the consequences of alcoholism and smoking.

So it is not at all surprising that it was the woman who again became the oldest person on the planet after the death of her sister Andre. This is a Spaniard named Maria Branas Morera, she is 115 years old. And the woman who holds the absolute record for longevity is the Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment, who died in 1997 at a record age of 122 years, writes euronews.

However, who knows… The Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Germany, for example, claims that one of his compatriots has already hit… 145!

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