This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

You can download an iPhone app for the 13th edition from the App Store (search for Weeks Population).

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

World's Oldest Man Celebrates 114th Birthday

The three oldest people in the world are women, but the fourth oldest person is a man, Walter Breuning of Montana, who just celebrated his 114th birthday. He was born in Minnesota in 1896, grew up in South Dakota, and then moved to Montana when he was 22, working for the Great Northern Railway. A few years later he married, but he and his wife (who died in 1957) never had children. His long life seems less than accidental. It is reported that his paternal grandparents lived into their 90s( and they would had to have been born in the mid-19th century, when life expectancy in the US was in the 40s). Furthermore, a sibling lived to be 100. 

This is consistent with research results reported recently by Paola Sebastiani of the Boston University School of Public Health:
In pursuit of a long life, expect the dismal prescriptions of clean living: exercise, moderation and a healthy diet. Indeed, such choices may help people exceed average lifespans by up to a decade. But when it comes to the oldest of the old, new research emphasises the biological rather than environmental factors behind longevity, suggesting that distinct genetic characteristics animate most centenarians.
So, remember, for a long life, choose your parents carefully!

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