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    More than 84,000 people living in the U.S. today are 100 years or older. By the 2040, that number is expected to grow to 580,000 -- an increase of 590 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Being one of the lucky ones who gets 100 candles on a birthday cake someday takes more than good genes, although that definitely helps. United Healthcare surveyed 100 Americans who turned 100 to provide a snapshot of the healthy habits that keep them going strong.

    Nine secrets of a long life:

    1. More than 80 percent communicate with a friend or family member daily.
    2. 75 percent eat nutritionally balanced meals every day.
    3. 75 percent get eight hours or more of sleep each night.
    4. 72 percent laugh or giggle every day.
    5. 62 percent pray, meditate or engage in a spiritual activity daily.
    6. 49 percent stay active by walking or hiking at least once a week, while 31 percent stay active by gardening.
    7. 32 percent eat organic foods regularly.
    8. 17 percent are currently doing some type of volunteer work.
    9. An increasing number of centenarians are also staying sharp by using new technologies: 12 percent have listened to music on a music player or similar device, 11 percent have watched a video on YouTube and 8 percent have sent a text message or instant message.




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