The quest for youth and longevity has been an interest of humankind for millennia, so it is not surprising that recording statistics on human longevity is done with great interest. On September 26, 2002, it was announced that Vu Thi Dao of northern Vietnam may in fact be the world's oldest person, although her birth certificate only lists the year in which she was born, and not the exact date. Officially, the oldest living person is Kamato Hongo, a Japanese woman who celebrated her 115th birthday on September 16th. Currently, the oldest living man is 113-year old Yukichi Chuganji of Japan. For the past few decades, the average life-span of Americans has been increasing, with a report released on September 12th, 2002, by the National Center for Health Statistics indicating that the life-expectancy of Americans stands at 76.9 years. Unfortunately, the report also indicates that the death rate from diabetes, largely the result of increased obesity, is rising dramatically.
The first link leads to a news story on the recent information regarding the Vietnamese woman who may be the world's oldest person. The second site is a recent report by the National Institute on Aging about the survival and coping strategies of the aging. The third link leads to a recent press release from the Pan American Health Organization regarding the public policy implications of providing adequate support to the aging throughout the Americas. The fourth and fifth sites are longer reports dealing with the current trends in aging and health in the United States and across the world, respectively. The sixth link is a news article profiling the work of Professor Andrew Prentice of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and his research into obesity in the United Kingdom and the United States. Finally, the seventh site provides information about the current longevity record-holders from the Guinness Book of World Records.