Researchers suggest that a human’s life expectancy could exceed 125 years within the next 60 years.
Most of us would be more than happy to reach the ripe old age of 100, but new research is beginning to show that people could grow to be much, much older.
Scientists at the University of Groningen and Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute have recently announced that preliminary findings for life expectancy keep trending upwards and that it is likely someone will reach the 125-year milestone by 2070.
So far the first person to come close was Jeanne Calment, a French woman who died at age 122 in 1997. Despite the fact she smoked two cigarettes a day and never skipped dessert, Calment retained her health well into her 100s. Her longevity remains a mystery to modern science, however, is thought to be have benefited from a lifetime of exercise (also well into her 100s) and a Mediterranean diet.
The Dutch researchers posited that a woman is most likely to reach the age of 125 first, proposing the odds to be about 1 in 20,000. Their analysis is based on the probability of death for people recorded up to the age of 109 and then extrapolated onwards.
“The population of centenarians is increasing rapidly and while the chances of centenarians surviving to even older ages are low, with a growing population, the probability will of course increase that more of them will reach a much higher age,” they said.
However, the statement is not without some controversy. US research published in the journal Nature have challenged the Dutch assertion, saying that the average human lifespan will “plateau” at 115. Their criticism is based on “misinterpretation of our results, unsubstantiated assumptions, and extrapolation without support from real data”.
So far the country with the highest average life expectancy is Japan, with an average lifespan of 83.7. Japanese longevity is attributed to a diet rich in fish and low in saturated fats, a top-notch public healthcare system, and a national attitude that promotes fitness in conjunction with aging.
Meanwhile, in the US, life expectancy has dropped for the first time in decades. Rising obesity lead to a rise heart disease and stroke, and is blamed along with a combined lack of access to quality healthcare. This has lead many leading experts to become increasingly concerned with health care in the US as other industrial nations continue to see their life expectancies rise.