Cuba has world’s highest rate of over 100-year-olds: expert

HAVANA, May 24, 2008 (AFP) – About 1,800 Cubans are over 100 years old, making it the country with the highest rate of centenarians, an expert said Saturday. Eugenio Selman-Housein, chairman of the 120 Years Club and previously head of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro’s medical team, also said “life expectancy has gone up to almost 80 years” on the communist-run Caribbean island.

There are “currently about 1,800 Cubans registered as over a century old,” he said, according to the National Information Agency.

This figure would make Cuba, which has a total population of 11.2 million, “the country that has the most centenarians per number of inhabitants in the world,” Selman-Housein said.

He noted that reaching the grand old age of 100 in good health required motivation, first of all, but also “a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, physical activity, culture and the right atmosphere.”

The 120 Years Club, created in 2003, promotes a style of living and eating that will help people live a long and happy life.

Cuba has 16.6 percent senior citizens — more than 12 percent is considered high — which represents more than 1.9 million elderly peop