According to statistics, the average life expectancy of a Chinese person was only 35 years in 1949 when the People's Republic of China was founded. It had risen to 69 by 1980 and exceeded 70 for urban dwellers.
In exploring longevity among ancient centenarians we aim at understanding its origins and in exploring longevity among contemporary centenarians, we aim at understanding its development. Only after understanding its origin and development can we get an overall view of longevity in China to provide reference for health care today.
In China's 1953 national census, 3,384 centenarians were found. In the third national census in 1982, 3,765 people of this age group were counted.
What is responsible for the longevity of today's centenarians?
The life-prolonging experiences of contemporary Chinese centenarians represent the development of an ancient tradition. Compared with ancient practices, these are of more relevance to people today.
As city-dwellers and rural people differ greatly in their daily habits, life styles, education, recreation and entertainment, as well as living environment, their life- prolonging practices will be dealt with separately.
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