We understand that there are many variables which determine why some people achieve great ages, while others do not. Genetics aside, individuals who live longer tend to do things differently than those whose lives are cut short. Whether that “x-factor” is purely dietary, or if other factors involved, something in their lifestyle absolutely determines their eventual long-term physical health and longevity.
One challenge is to look past the average life expectancy of any given country (based on a “mean”). Such figures may present inaccuracies when comparing different countries, owing to variations and disparities in wealth, child mortality, hygiene standards, health care systems, high murder rates, fast food cultures, etc. Any such disparities could distort or warp the data. A fairer and more logical approach is to look at countries where large numbers of residents manage to reach great ages irrespective of the obstacles that those countries may need to overcome.
For example, there are poorer countries, with lower overall life expectancy, which nevertheless consistently produce a higher number of centenarians per capita. Additionally, two comparable developed countries may have a nearly identical number of citizens per capita reaching eighty years old, but one may produce a significantly greater number of centenarians than the other.
At LifePath, our aim is to identify what sets centenarians (or even nonagenarians) apart by pinpointing the commonalities that exist between those who manage to beat the odds and outwit Father Time.
We look at the countries with the highest number of centenarians per capita. This data from this group is based on the ten countries worldwide with the highest number of centenarians per 100,000 population (according to the latest U.N. figures). While such data is difficult to collate for some countries, the United Nations figures are a reliable barometer. (Greece is a slight exception, as the figures for Greece have been obtained from a separate source).
This group consists of: Japan, Portugal, Spain, Greece, France, Italy, South Africa, Israel, Thailand and Canada.
We look at regions in specific countries that seem to show a higher-than-average number of centenarians in relation their population as a whole. These regions may or may not be in a Group One country.
We look at countries which significantly lag behind the rest of the world in terms of centenarians per capita, and we try to ascertain why this may be the case.
We look at individuals around the world who have achieved exceptionally long lives. As with Group Two, these people may not necessarily come from a Group One country.
We look at socioeconomic groups, which may be determined by occupation or levels of affluence. We also have an interest in competitive sportsmen or women. Essentially, this means any cross-section of society that has demonstrated differentials in life span (longer or shorter) compared with the average life expectancy in their region. We are especially interested in finding similarities that exist between comparable groups around the world.
Other factors which may arise in the course of the study, such as nutritional differences that may assist with longevity, specifically individual foods/nutrients that may have contributed to optimum health. In addition, there are other contributory factors such as lifestyle choices, attitude, faith and intellectual curiosity.
The environmental challenges we face in our ever-modernising industrial world are also worth examining. Technology and progress wield a double-edged sword, with the downside being increased levels of pollutants and toxins which, either singularly or combinatorially, can attack even the healthiest human body, thwarting any chance of an individual achieving a great age.
We also explore the various reparatory and restorative methods used by many in an attempt to “turn back the clock”. There are a number of practices and treatments – ones that have been in use for centuries - which have the potential to rejuvenate, repair and restore cellular and organ function and that may have a positive effect on an individual’s attempts at longevity. Furthermore, we also show some interest in medical breakthroughs which could contribute to or promote the possibility of life extension.