Is extreme climate or moderate climate more conducive to longevity in China?


Climate is closely related to human longevity. In China, there are many climate types. According to national population censuses from 1982 to 2000, most provinces with a high ratio of centenarians are located in western and northwestern China far from the sea; these areas are characterized by a dry, cold climate, very high altitude, very high daily temperature range, strong winds, and partial hypoxia. Meanwhile, provinces with a high ratio of nonagenarians from 1982 to 2000 are located in southern China near the sea. Previous studies have attributed the high ratio of centenarians in western and northwestern China to the extreme local climate. However, centenarians in these areas decreased greatly in 2010, whereas residents in southern China frequently reached 90 to 100 years old in 2010. This study aims to explain this strange phenomenon and find whether extreme climate in Tibetan plateau and northwestern China or moderate climate in southern China is more conducive to longevity. The study found that mortality rate in Tibetan plateau is much higher than southern China, then a population evolution experiment was proposed to compare longevity indicators between low mortality rate and high mortality rate and shows that longevity indicators will decrease in the near future and increase above their original levels after several decades when the mortality rate is decreased. Results of this study show individuals in northwestern China do not live as long as those in eastern and southern China. A moderate climate is more conducive to longevity than extreme climate in China. The longevity of a region should be judged by long-term longevity indicators.

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This study is supported by the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province (No. BK20150405), the National Students’ Innovation Training Program for undergraduate students (No. 201710304036) and Key Laboratory Foundation of Nantong City (No. CP12016005).

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Correspondence to Yi Huang.

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Huang, Y., Rosenberg, M. & Wang, Y. Is extreme climate or moderate climate more conducive to longevity in China?. Int J Biometeorol 62, 971–977 (2018).

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  • Longevity zone
  • Extreme climate
  • Moderate climate
  • Mortality rate
  • Centenarian
  • Hypoxia