2 of the world’s supercentenarians are from France – NBC Chicago

Most people are lucky enough to live to be 100, but two women have lived well beyond that, joining the ranks of the world’s oldest people – and they’re both French.

Jeanne Calment is believed to be the world’s oldest person on record, gracing the Earth for 122 years. And recently, a French nun named Sister André was the oldest person in the world until January 17, when she died at the age of 118.

Pinpointing exactly what helps people live beyond 100 is difficult, given the varied behaviors of supercentenarians, says Jean-Marie Robine, an expert demographer who studies the relationship between health and longevity.

But certain factors may give France the advantage when it comes to longevity, says Robine, who is also director of research at the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) in France.

Here are a few reasons why people in Hexagon tend to have bonus years.

Why the French tend to live longer than residents of other countries

1. Education is free

“The most educated people have a longer life expectancy,” says Robine. “They value longevity more [and] more good health. They know better what to do [and] what not to do if you want to stay healthy.”

People who have received more education also have a better understanding of which foods to eat for longevity and which exercises to include in their daily lives to increase their health, according to Robine.

2. Access to care is free

The countries with the highest life expectancies, including France, Japan and Denmark, all offer free health care.

“And that’s a big difference,” says Robine, comparing the life expectancies of different countries, “and here we’re losing countries like the UK, the Netherlands and the US.”

3. Better food choices

People in the south of France, where Jeanne Calment and Sister André were born, adhere to a Mediterranean diet, Robine explains. A Mediterranean diet prioritizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seafood, and healthy fats, while limiting or eliminating consumption of red meat, dairy, and sweets.

When we compare the North of France to the South of France, there is a difference in life expectancy of two years, which can be partially attributed to diet. The weather is also an important factor, as winters and summers in the south of France are less harsh than in the north, he adds.

As for food in other countries, says Robine, “people eat too much [much] fat and salt. »

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