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Combined age of city couple 209

(Shanghai Daily)

08:33, March 11, 2013

Zhang Mucheng (left), 104, and wife Xu Dongying, 105 are seen outside their house. This photo was taken in 2011. ( Photo/ Haifeng)

SHANGHAI has only one "centenarian couple" left after the wife in a second long-lived couple died at the end of last year, the Shanghai Gerontological Society said.

The husband of the remaining couple, Zhang Mucheng, is 104 years old while his spouse, Xu Dongying, is 105. They have been married for 83 years.

The couple said they are hoping their combined age will reach 210 - their next birthdays are nearly a year away, in January. The couple ranks No. 5 among China's "centenarian couples." A couple in Hainan Province whose age totals 214 years tops the list.

Li Suqing, 114, is the oldest centenarian in the city. She was crowned "Shanghai Longevity Star" for the fifth straight year last year and still has a clear mind and sharp eyes despite her age. "She is usually in a good mood and rarely gets angry," her daughter Tian Yulan said. Tian's major concern is that it is getting harder to take care of her mom - she is now 70 herself. Tian shares a room with her mother to look after her.

The Shanghai Gerontological Society announces the city's top 10 centenarians and centenarian couples every year before the Chongyang Festival, or Double Ninth Festival, which normally falls in October.

The city had 1,156 centenarians registered by the end of 2011, according to the gerontological society's latest figures announced in October. There were about eight centenarians per 100,000 people in Shanghai, which has a population of 23.47 million, it said. A city can be said to be a "city of longevity" when it has seven centenarians for every 100,000 people.

The gerontological society said the centenarians share some traits. They are usually mild-tempered, broad-minded, not picky about food and fond of exercise. They have a healthy schedule and live in harmony with their family.

"Proper exercise, an agreeable mood, a mild diet, no smoking and little wine are all good for seniors' health," said Wang Zanshun, former director of the Huadong Hospital and a gerontology expert.

Wang, who is 90 years old, said seniors are advised to go for strolls and avoid eating the organs of animals and fat. Fish should be part of the diet.

Jing'an, Xuhui and Huangpu districts, and Chongming County, boasted the largest number of centenarians for every 100,000 people.

"In downtown districts like Jing'an and Huangpu, seniors tend to ... enjoy a more complete health care system, while seniors in suburban areas like Chongming enjoy better air quality," said Sun Pengbiao, secretary general of the gerontological association.

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