I was at work last week when I — unfortunately — saw this story reported by the Associated Press:
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Just days after becoming the world’s oldest documented person, 116-year-old Gertrude Weaver has died in Arkansas. The Williams Funeral Home confirms that Weaver died Monday at the Silver Oaks Health and Rehabilitation Center in Camden, about 100 miles southwest of Little Rock. Weaver became the oldest person in the world after the death of a 117-year-old Japanese woman last week, according to records kept by the Los Angeles-based Gerontology Research Group. Weaver was born on July 4, 1898. Weaver told reporters last week that the key to her longevity was being kind to everyone and eating her own cooking. She also said she hoped President Barack Obama would come to her 117th birthday party in July.
It got me to thinking.
We hear so many times that African-Americans and even African descendants are either too unhealthy – or more specifically too obese – and are thus dying at a younger age. One of the reasons we hear that is attributed to the early demise is a lifetime of eating fat-laden, sugar-loaded, salt-saturated Southern and/or ethnic food.
I went to Wikipedia (because Wikipedia knows everything) and found this little tidbit. After Ms. Weaver passed, the seven oldest, verified people as of April 13th were:
1. Jeralean Talley; 115 years, 325 days; born in Georgia, African-American
2. Susannah Mushatt Jones; 115 years, 281 days; born in Alabama, African-American
3. Emma Morano; 115 years, 135 days, lives in Italy, Italian
4. Violet Brown; 115 years, 34 days, lives in Jamaica, Jamaican
5. Antonia Gerena Rivera; 114 years, 329 days; born in Puerto Rico, U.S. citizen
6. Nabi Tajima; 114 years, 252 days, lives in Japan, Japanese
7. Blanche Cobb; 114 years, 217 days; born in Georgia, African American
All women I might add. Four of the top seven American; four of them of African origin.
To all you big brains out there…I issue a challenge.
Tell me why — despite the conventional wisdom — that so many minorities are defying the odds and living well beyond the century mark.
And to all you (as Wikipedia terms them) Supercentenarians out there..keep showing them that there is nothing wrong with the collard greens, hamhocks, jerk chicken, tostones, sticky rice and a nip of the hard liquor every now and again to keep the body going.
I want to be just like you folks when I grow up!