Solving the mystery of the status and longevity of centenarians in Bama

Chin J Popul Sci. 1996;8(4):385-94.


PIP: This study evaluates the quality of reported data on centenarians from Bama Yao Autonomous County in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China, and describes their life style and characteristics. Interviews were conducted during May 10 to June 18, 1994, among 69 persons out of 73 aged 100 years on or before May 1, 1994. Information was obtained on demographics, marriage and reproduction, work and living habits, psychological and physical functioning, the composition of their diet, and observations by interviewers. Age records were available from birth registers and generation rankings. Each town and 12 counties in Bama had centenarians above the age of 90 years. Bama comprises 13 ethnic groups, 68.2% of whom are Zhuang; 17.4% are Yao and 14.3% are Han. There were 79.4 centenarians per 100,000 Yao. Only 3 centenarians still had spouses. 42 were women and 25 were men. 11 centenarians had 12 living siblings. 26% belonged to the third generation of centenarians. 5 lived alone. The average first marriage age was late. The interval to first birth was long. 3.2 children per woman were still alive. The centenarians tended to be light and thin in build and hunchbacked. Most fed and toileted themselves. 80.3% reported good or average health. 21.7% had good eye sight, and 36.2% had good hearing. 55.1% had their own teeth. The average pulse was about 72 beats per minute. Many had continued to work until the age of 90 years. The topography was tranquil and secluded. The social environment was conducive to longevity. Centenarians kept a regular life style, a sufficient diet high in vitamin E (low in calories, low in fat, low in animal protein, low in salt, low in sugar, high in vitamins, and high in fiber), and a calm temperament toward life and death. Data are considered reliable and longevity is a product of many factors.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over*
  • Asia
  • Asia, Eastern
  • Behavior
  • China
  • Data Collection*
  • Demography
  • Developing Countries
  • Diet*
  • Health
  • Life Style*
  • Longevity*
  • Mortality
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Population
  • Population Characteristics
  • Population Dynamics
  • Research
  • Sampling Studies