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100 Is the New 80

Are you planning to live to 100? It turns out you should be. As an adult in the year 2013, there’s a very good chance you’ll make it to the century mark. That’s according to the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Census Bureau, which have announced that those over the age of 80 now make up the world’s fastest growing age group.

In 2012 the number of Americans living to and past 100 rose to 100,000. In less than 40 years, that number will double and double and double again. By 2050, more than 800,000 people will be centenarians. So how do you make sure you’re one of them?

And much more importantly, how do you ensure that those last decades find you vigorously pursuing all the interests you postponed during your working years, rather than sidelined by pain and chronic illness?

“In addition to the chronological clock, inside each of us there’s a biological clock that’s running faster or slower depending on a bunch of health factors,” says Stephen (Steve) Jones, MD, a specialist in internal medicine and geriatrics and Director of the Center for Healthy Aging at Greenwich Hospital. “We can dial our clock ahead or back depending on the choices we make.”

And what makes the difference? It’s all in how we choose to treat ourselves, and how carefully we take care of our health. But it’s not just what we do with our bodies, it’s what we do with our minds, too, says Jones.

-Melanie Haiken, Forbes Contributor

More From Forbes:
Why Do Some People Live To 100 Years?
Health Secrets Of The World's Oldest People
America's Best- And Worst-Paying Jobs: Healthcare Leads The Way

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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