A Longevity Hot Spot in the Bamenda Highlands

There seems to be a longevity hot spot in the Bamenda Highlands. I have never before met anybody beyond the age of hundred, but in that part of Cameroon, you come across an astonishing number of extemely old people of astonishing health and fitness. The mother of Cardinal Tumi (see my previous post) is one example. Another one was one woman who had just been burried when we came to Njinikom. Her exact age was not known, but her baptism certificate was 111 years old. My own grandmother in law was very probably more than 100 years old, and there are more examples like that. I met her youngest sister, an astonishingly fit and agile woman in her 80s. The strengh of these old ladies is astonishing.

I guess the reason is genetic. The traditional diet, containing lots of smoked meat and palm oil, does not seem to be especially healthy. I am not sure any research has been done on the longevity of Bamenda people.

The official lists of very old people in the world are definitely incomplete, containing mostly people from Japan, Europe and North America. There are areas in other parts of the world as well where a relatively high number of people reaches a high age. At least the Bamenda highland is one of them.


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