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Key to longevity may be in an Italian village

Posted at 9:22 PM, Apr 12, 2019
An Italian village has an unusually high number of people who live past their 100th birthdays. (NBC News)

SARDINIA, ITALY – In one village in Italy an unusually high proportion of residents live to amazing ages.

Of 1.6 million Sardinians at least 220 have lived to their 100th birthdays. That’s twice the typical ratio, and the highest documented percentage worldwide to pass the 100 year mark.

Most of those come from the Ogliastra Region on the Eastern side of the island, surrounded by mountains and the Mediterranean Sea. The isolated area has a population of barely 300,000 but an uncanny number of centenarians and super-centenarians, or people who have lived 110 years or more.

At least five of the world’s 40 oldest people have come from Sardinia including Antonio Todde, who died in 2002 just shy of his 113th birthday as the world’s oldest man.

Sardinia is one of four regions in the world called “Blue Zones,” or century-old regions. The others are Japan, Costa Rica, and Greece. All four have seashores exposed to the wind.