By Virginie Montet
Washington: They watch MTV, surf the Web, have iPods, play video games and eat at fast food restaurants.
And, no, they are not your average US teenagers, but people who are over the age of 100. They shared the secrets of their longevity in a study released on 3 April, carried out by Evercare, a health provider for the elderly in the United States.
“To stay in tune has health benefits,” said Sherri Snelling, director of Evercare, which questioned 100 centenarians for the survey. “These centenarians do know about current trends.
Apart from staying on top of the latest trends, those questioned said healthy lifestyles and religious faith kept them young. They also emphasized that maintaining the brain was also very important in keeping them going.
The s urvey gave a snapshot and a lot of useful anecdotal information that will help policy makers and manufacturers of consumer goods to understand what it is that keeps Americans healthy, happy and independent in getting older.
Of the 70 women and 30 men questioned in the second annual survey, 70% still live at home and like the fellow US citizens, follow latest fads like reality television, video games and iPods, all the while keeping up with current events.
68% relied on television as their primary source of news, 40% still read newspapers and 10% percent used radio for information. According to the US Census Bureau, there are currently 80,000 centenarians in the United States, but that number is projected to increase seven-fold, to 580,000, by 2040 as the post-1945 baby boomer generation ages.
Of the centenarians questioned in the Evercare survey, 72% have eaten at fast food restaurants, 31% have watched reality TV shows and 27% have watched MTV or music videos.
24% bought CDs while 15% played video games; 6% surfed the Internet, 4% listened to music on iPods and 11% tried coffee at Starbucks! 23 % say they have smoked cigarettes, and on an average, those who quit did so 41 years ago.
82% said their dietary habits have improved or stayed the same as compared to 50 years ago. For 28%, the most beautiful day of their life was their wedding day, while the birth of a child or their 100th birthday tied for second place. One adventurous centenarian, however, said his best memory was when he learned to fly at age 76.