NOW A BABY MAY WELL LIVE TO 100
Somewhere, an October 2011 newborn just pushed global population past seven billion, according to the United Nations Population Fund. If the birth occurred in Japan, France, The United States, or a handful or other wealthy nations, that landmark child will likely reach another milestone: a 100th birthday. Today, says Danish epidemiologist Kaare Christensen, more than half the babies in such well-off places are expected to become centenarians.
A typical life in an industrialized country is now about eighty years long – three decades longer than it was a century ago. In contrast, life expectancy in sub-Saharan Africa is a mere fifty-three years. Infant health worldwide has generally improved; the global gap persists largely due to gains in seniors' health in developed countries. Earlier diagnoses of illnesses, especially heart disease, and more accessible buildings have helped improve late-life comfort and mobility. As a result, says Christensen, most of those lucky enough to reach 100 "would like to have another birthday."
How best to join the hundred-plus club? There's no single answer. But most studies of centenarians show that if you're a woman, a nonsmoker, wealthy, or slim, you're off to a good start.
Adaptado de: Brad Scriber. National Geographic Magazine. November 2011.
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