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Tuesday, May 11, 2021
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Dominica takes the longevity prize

It wasn’t always so, but Jamaicans can now kick our behinds in football, and so can Haiti, and Cuba, and Trinidad and Tobago. Yap, we were, prior to 1970, worthy rivals in football with the best in the Caribbean, and of course we were totally dominant in softball, almost everywhere in the world, except for the USA.

In the longevity race, thanks to a lot of good doctors who came here from Europe, a lot of local knowledge about herbs, and of course the fact that our ancestors had to work very hard, physically, our performance hasn’t been too poor. The World Bank says in 1960 world life expectancy was 52.58 years, and in Belize it was 59.98, in Mexico, 57.07, in Guatemala, 46.7, in Jamaica, 64.77, in Barbados, 64.47, and in the US (Statista) 69.66 years.

In the year 2000 we saw a major increase in lifespan, especially in those countries that were near the bottom. World Bank stats show that in 2000 average life expectancy in the world had increased by 15 years, from 52.58 in 1960 to 67.55. In Belize, life expectancy increased to 68.85, in Mexico life expectancy in 2000 was 74.34, in Guatemala 67.85, in Jamaica 74.14, in Barbados 77.16, and in the US (Statista) 76.47 years.

Coming up to 2018, the World Bank says in that year world life expectancy was 72.56 years, in Belize it was 74.5 years, in Mexico 74.99, in Guatemala 74, in Jamaica 74.37, in Barbados 79.08, and in the US (Statista), life expectancy was 78.54 years.

According to The Borgen Project, for the year 2018 the CIA ranked Belize’s life expectancy 122nd globally, with females averaging 76.3 years and males 73.1.

Well, I think most of us believe that the Japanese, with their even keel and all their discipline and wealth, are at the top of the world in longevity, and no surprise, Katharina Buchholz, in the story “Centenarians, Where 100 is the New 80”, says a PEW estimate says there’ll be 3.7 million centenarians by 2050, and Japan, which at this time has 79,000 oldsters in the 100 club, second only to the US and their 97,000, will lead the way.

Buchholz said the oldest woman today is Japanese, 117-year-old Kane Tanaka, and the oldest man is from Spain, soon to be 112-years-old, Saturnino de la Fuente.

Her report says 0.03% of the population in France, Spain and Italy are centenarians, and Uruguay, Hong Kong and Puerto Rico are up there, with centenarians in those countries between 0.06 and 0.045 percent of their populations. Buchholz’s report, published by Statista, only looks at the longevity rates in the more populated countries.

The World Atlas says the UN estimates that there are 316,600 centenarians in the world right now, and the projection is that 1/3 of all babies born in the UK in 2013 will live to that ripe young age. The Japan Times said 90% of the centenarians in Japan are women.

One source has linked the vitamins E and A with long life, and I once read about a village in Russia where they are very big on onions. I guess every other day it must be escabaych or fish tea on their table.

It’s a good bet that increased longevity will force capitalist economies to go left, but for now it is a great boon for corporations. Longevity is huge business, and countries see big profit in laying claim to the food from their region as the source of youth. You know business is everything, peepl haffu eat, and in that line we have been bombarded about the wonders of olive oil, what it does for the Italians and other Mediterranean people, and the horrors of our coconut oil.

Dr. Bulwer told us that dehn mi di lai against kuknat, and when the matter went to court the truth of the oil wars came out, and bah, they wanted to push sales of olive oil, and also corner dwindling world supplies of coconut oil for their biscuit companies.

I think I have to go and check on our German friends right now, because a huge story about is that wine from grapes grown in the Mediterranean is the best alcoholic beverage, that it is dual purpose, serves both mind and physical health. There, thank you Google, I found that life expectancy in Germany in 2020 is 81.41 years, so we can drink all the Belikin and Pirate we want, if we’ve got the money.

Ah, now we point our bow to mountain country in the middle of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, to the awesome island of Dominica, but whoa, hold on a minute there in our discussion of their incredible longevity to allow me to tell you why their leader, Roosevelt Skerrit, is our John Saldivar’s big hero. My bet is that if you go into John’s house the big picture on the wall will be Skerrit, not Dean Barrow.

Hmm, Mr. Skerrit was on the hot seat for being too cozy with a Chinese billionaire. One Wikipedia page says the rich man from China reportedly told his friends that he was behind Dominica dumping our friends from Taiwan, and their picking up Bill Lindo’s friends, the Real Deal Big Red Machine China. Ah, and the Al Jazeera (I saw the tapes) said there was an investigation into Skerrit about diplomatic passports and ambassadorships. But all that pales when compared to the exploits of our local hero, who, among other suspected crimes, once used a boat gifted to us to chase drugs, to ferry his team about.

Okay, now we land in Dominica, the land where, incredibly, there were FOUR centenarians living on ONE STREET. Wow!

American doctor, Steven Masley MD, in his story, “Which Country has the Highest Percentage of People Over 100 years of Age?”, says Dominica is doing the best in the longevity race, with 27 in a population of only 72,000 people. “This is nearly four people per 10,000, which is 50 percent higher than Japan, 65 percent higher than in the United States, and three times as many as in Great Britain”, Masley says, and yes, four of them were living on one street!

Naturally, Masley, a doctor, investigated why the Dominicans live so long, and he suggests their pristine environment is a major plus. He also says that they have a healthy diet of homegrown natural foods, the freshest water, and they love herbal teas; they are physically active, walk a lot; they have strong community spirit, self-sufficient communities; and they have strong faith in God.

In 2001, organizers of a ceremony under the banner, “A Tribute to Dominica’s Centenarian Women”, recognized Ma Pampo Israel, then the oldest person on the planet. The organizers said that at 126 she was “still going strong”. Ma Pampo died in 2003 at age 128. In 2001 worldwide life expectancy for women was 64 to 67 and for men it was 61 (they are running us ragged, that’s what the evidence says, clearly), and in 2001 Dominica life expectancy for women was 78 to 81, and for men 75.

Lest anyone thinks I have a candidacy for centenarian status, the answer to that is nyet, not a chance. To make a hundred you have to have been lucky to escape serious injuries, you have to have a temperament that leaves everything to God, you have to exercise consistently, and you can’t love drinking. I don’t qualify.

If you have ambition, I think one of the big outward markers in the longevity series is belly fat. Looking at the ancianos in my family, my paternal grampa, who made 97, died with no belly fat; my uncle, Roy Belisle, died at 102 without belly fat; my dad, who’s 97, didn’t have belly fat until he was well into his 70s, and my aunt, Grace Grant, she’s 95 and she still doesn’t have belly fat.

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