Number of Centenarians Doubles Over 5 Years

The number of centenarians in the country has nearly doubled over the last five years, Statistics Korea said Tuesday. There were 1,836 Koreans over 100 years of age last November, up 875 from 2005.

Of these, 1,580 or 86.1 percent were women. But the number of men over 100 increased a whopping 146.2 percent during the period, compared to only 84.4 percent among their female counterparts.

Asked to what they attribute their longevity, 54.4 percent cited eating in moderation as the main reason. This was followed by optimism (31 percent), regular habits (30.9 percent), longevity in the family (16.8 percent), and a harmonious family life (10.5 percent). Multiple answers were possible.

Some 69.8 percent of respondents said they never drink, with the proportion of women (74.1 percent) far greater than that of men (42.7 percent). Likewise, 71.1 percent said they never smoke, with women (75.8 percent) again ahead of men (41.2 percent).

Some 67.5 percent said they eat a lot of vegetables, followed by meat (47.2 percent) and seafood (32.8 percent). Some 35.6 percent said they dislike starchy food, followed by meat (35.1 percent) and nuts (34.5 percent).

Jangsu in North Jeolla Province is the village with the largest number of centenarians in the country, with seven centenarians among 19,293 residents -- equivalent to 36 per 100,000 population.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jun. 22, 2011 09:52 KST