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How Old Was the Oldest Person to Have Lived?

A French woman named Jeanne Calment lived until she was 122; she died in 1997 at 122 years and 164 days. She was the last living person to have met Vincent van Gogh. Calmet was not a health nut — she smoked from age 21 to 117, though a friend of hers claimed she smoked just two cigarettes per day. According to Calment, her longevity was attributed to olive oil and port wine, and she ate about 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) of chocolate per week. She lived on her own until she was 110, when she started to lose her eye sight.

More Longevity Facts:

  • Of the supercentenarians — people 110 years or older — the majority tend to be female.

  • The average expected life span for the world's population, estimated for 2010, is 67.2 years. This is an average — wealthier nations have higher life expectancies.

  • The United States has an average life expectancy rate of 77.5 years.
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