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Centenarians escapers are those who reached 100 years of age without the diagnosis of any of the common age-related diseases and exploring their characteristics will inform about successful ageing. No previous study has examined centenarians free of common chronic diseases amongst New Zealand centenarians. Retrospective observational cross-sectional review of a national dataset determining the prevalence of depression, dementia, diabetes and hypertension, smoking, physical activity and social relationships among older adults (aged 60-99 years) and centenarians. Participants were all older New Zealanders living independently in the community who completed the international Residential Assessment Instrument-Home Care (interRAI-HC) assessment during the study's 5-year period (July 2013-June 2018). The assessments of 292 centenarians (mean age 101.03, SD 1.27 years) and 103,377 elderly (mean age 81.7, SD 5.7 years) were analysed. Compared to the elderly, centenarians were more likely to be female (74.7%, compared with 59.3% elderly, p < 0.001). Centenarians free of common chronic diseases did not differ from other centenarians on any of the analysed variables. Reduction in smoking rates and steady high rates of social engagement were associated with reaching a centenarian status free of common chronic diseases compared with older adults. Not smoking and being socially engaged throughout older age were associated with being a centenarian free of common chronic diseases. This study adds to our understanding the complexities of attaining exceptional longevity.


Yoram Barak, Sharon Leitch, Paul Glue. The Great Escape. Centenarians' exceptional health. Aging clinical and experimental research. 2021 Mar;33(3):513-520

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PMID: 32488471

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