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The Swedish town with the most 100-year-olds

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The Swedish town with the most 100-year-olds
The town has 22 people aged 100 or older. Photo: Shutterstock.
10:38 CET+01:00
Experts have been left scratching their heads as to why a town in southern Sweden has an unusually high number of centenarians - over 40 times more than the country's national average per capita.
Vittsjö, a town of 2,500 in the north of the Skåne region, has 22 residents over the age of 100. This means that almost one percent of the town's population is at least 100 years old.
 
While that might not sound like a whopping figure, when compared to the Swedish average of 0.02 percent - or one person for every 5,000 - then you're looking at a figure that's 44 times higher than the national average. 
 
Swedish broadcaster SVT paid the town a visit to find out more, and reported that the area could be listed among the world's "blue zones" - which National Geographic described as "pockets around the world where people lived measurably longer". Regions in Costa Rica, Italy, Greece, and Japan can also boast blue zones. 
 
While old age is usually tied to high education and high living standards, the older residents in the Skansenhemmet retirement home in Vittsjö don't fit the usual mix, reported SVT. In fact, the retirement home's residents, who are on average over 90 years old, are typically not highly educated. 
 
Health expert Henrik Ennart didn't have a simple answer to explain Vittsjö's aged population, but explained that old age can often be attributed to dietary habits. 
 
"It's often poorer and more arid areas where people have had natural access to healthy food without indulging. They haven't eaten a lot, but they've eaten well," he told the broadcaster.
 
"The people in these blue zones have been in good shape, but have also been good at taking care of each other."
 
In the 2014 Global Age Watch Index Sweden was voted the second best country in the world to grow old in. It lost the top spot it secured in 2013 to Nordic Scandinavian cousins Norway.
 
An estimated 25.6 percent of the Swedish population is over the age of 60, with that figure expected to jump to 28.5 percent by 2050. 
 
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