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September 30, 2011

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Centenarians break city records

SHANGHAI'S centenarians are breaking records this year, with 112-year-old Li Suqing becoming the oldest person in the city's history and the number of people over 100 reaching 1,000 for the first time, the Shanghai Gerontological Society said yesterday.

Li, who lives in the Pudong New Area, has won the title of "Shanghai Longevity Star" for four straight years. She remains healthy with sharp eyes and a good appetite. Her family said that she has developed a more crooked back since last year, but still enjoys good health. She deals with her daily life well, they said, and is able to enjoy hairy crabs, one of her favorite foods.

The oldest man in the city is 109-year-old Qin Maotang, who lives in Putuo District. He still takes walks and does simple exercises every day. Qin's family said he leads a very regular and healthy life. He goes to bed and gets up early and eats a nutritious, low-calorie diet.

This year Shanghai gained a third "centenarian couple" with both the husband and wife reaching 100 years of age. Shen Guangyuan, 100, and his wife Huang Songxue, 102, are the latest members of the club. They have been married for 79 years and live in Chongming County with their youngest son's family.

The gerontological society said that the centenarians share some common characteristics in that they tend to be kind and mild-tempered, and also insist on doing things by themselves.

By the end of last year, the city had 997 centenarians, 94 more than in 2009. And by the end of June, another 60 seniors became centenarians, officials said.

About seven people per 100,000 in Shanghai are centenarians - the exact benchmark the society uses to define a city as a "city of longevity."

Life expectancy in the city is 82.1 years, the highest in the country.

Shanghai is an aging city, a fact that officials take seriously. They said that, up to the end of last year, the city had about 3.3 million residents over the age of 60 - about 23 percent of the registered population and an increase of almost 5 percent over 2009.

Within the next five years, projections say that there will be 4.3 million Shanghai residents over 60, or some 30 percent of the registered population.


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