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Longevity Secrets from Cuba

Much has been made of the longevity of Fidel Castro, now aged 80 and dominating the political leadership of Cuba since 1959. This week another Cuban made headlines in the Economist for being arguably the world's oldest man upon his death on October 11th at age 120. Benito Martinez Abrogan was active to the end breeding fighting cocks, growing bananas and dancing salsa with the young nurses at the senior citizens centre. His 'healthy' lifetime was associated with being a labourer all his life, smoking until age 108, and staying away from doctors until his first visit at age 115.

Longevity is prominent in Cuba with 2,721 people over age 100 in a country of only 11.2 million people. Paradoxically Cuba spends only US$251 a head on health care compared to USA spending US$5,711. Benito's diet was cassava and sweet potatoes cooked in pork fat. When asked what his secret of longevity was before he died, he said he didn't have a car and walked mostly; since food was rationed he didn't eat much except what he grew; and he had never cheated a man or said bad things about other people.

Posted Friday, 27 October 2006

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