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Bob Hope accomplished some amazing feats, not the least of which were maintaining a 69-year Hollywood marriage and living to be 100. In honor of the king of comedians passing, here are five keys to hitting the century mark.
1. Be female.
About 85 percent of 100-plus-year-olds in this country are women. Researchers hypothesize that women are more emotionally equipped to survive the loss of a spouse or other family members than men because females build a stronger social network.
2. Be middle-aged now.
By 2010, more than 130,000 Americans will be 100 or older. The centenarian count is projected to be 834,000 by 2050.
3. Make it to 85.
There are 4.2 million U.S. adults who fit the "old old" category of 85 or older. Statistics show that making it to age 85 significantly improves one's chances at 100, especially among males.
4. If male, stay married.
Research shows that men who are married typically live longer than single or widowed counterparts.
5. Take an aspirin, pray for good genes.
Experts contend that long life is about 50 percent lifestyle factors (not smoking, avoiding the sun, taking a daily 81 mg aspirin, flossing teeth, moderating intake of saturated and trans fats). Twenty to 30 percent is related to genes, while other variables, notably income level, represent 20 to 30 percent.
(c) 2003, Chicago Tribune. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service.