"Eating fermented food products like dwen jang gook and spending time with family are the secrets to a long life" according to the results of a recent study into the lifestyles of people over 100 years of age residing in the Jeonnam area.
The study which covered 22 men and 175 women all over the age of 100, found that all of the subjects of the study enjoyed eating the dwen jang gook a type of fermented bean paste soup and none smoked cigarettes or induldged in alcohol.
. . .
The population of Jeollanamdo is aging at twice the speed of the national average and the Provincial Government plans to use the results of this study to devise policies to improve the lives of it`s elderly residents.
More information available, in Korean, via articles from Dailian.co.kr and Yonhap, the latter providing this breakdown:
실제 나이는 100세 미만 40명, 100세 30명 101∼105세 107명, 106∼110세 17명이며 110세인 담양 국운산 할머니가 최고령자로 나타났고 자신의 나이를 정확히 모르는 노인도 2명이나 됐다.
In 2007 we learned that beans and garlic were fueling Korea's oldest citizens. From the Chosun Ilbo:
Kim Jong-in, dean of Wonkwang University's Graduate School of Health & Enivironment, studied 996 Koreans over 100 years old in 254 areas around the country. Areas with larger soybean and garlic crops have higher numbers of seniors over 100. Areas that have lower levels of biochemical oxygen demand in the water and lower levels of sulfur dioxide in the air, both indicators of pollution, also have greater numbers of centenarians.
Less developed regions, which have fewer water facilities, less public spending, and fewer paved roads, have more over-100 seniors than other regions. Rural areas that have low rates of tobacco consumption and fewer cars also have more centenarians, indicating that smoking and exercise affect longevity.
I've written about Jeollanam-do's oldest residents a couple times before. Last April we learned that the province was expected to get 65 new centenarians, based on the number of people born in 1909. According to the article last year, Suncheon had the highest number of centenarians in the province, and according to a 2006 article reprinted on last year's post, had the highest number of centenarians in the country with 18. In a comment last April Ms. Parker shared one of her experiences:
I'm wondering if I may have met one of those elderly gentlement from Suncheon when I first arrived in Korea in 2006.
I was out with a Korean family and we'd stopped for a snack. This old man wandered past us, dressed in traditional clothing that I'd only ever seen in a museum before... the real old hanbok, with red bauble-like buttons. His beard was long and white --
Unsure of the etiquette, I asked if I could take a photo with him. He sat with me, and we held hands (!!). I don't think I've ever met such an old person in my life.... and he was so calm and gentle. Just a wonderful experience to have so early on in my Korean experience.
An article from October 2009 put the number of centenarians in Jeollanam-do at 186, with Yeosu's 20 the most in the province.
That 2007 Chosun Ilbo article has more on the area. On the topic if "less developed regions" having more centenarians than other parts of the country
Professor Kim counted the number of seniors over 100 per 100,000 residents based on the 2005 census by the National Statistical Office. The region with the most seniors over 100 was Hampyeong County in South Jeolla Province with 27.72 per 100,000. Gurye County in South Jeolla Province came in second with 24.29, followed by Janseong County in South Jeolla Province with 16.79, Sunchang County in North Jeolla Province with 15.24 and Gangjin County in South Jeolla Province with 13.68.
The top four cities were all in North and South Jeolla provinces. By city, Jeongeup City in North Jeolla Province took first place with 6.93, followed by Naju City in South Jeolla Province with 6.91, Suncheon City in South Jeolla Province with 6.88, Gimje City in North Jeolla Province with 6.64 and Jongno District in Seoul with 6.49.