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Dina Manfredini: World's Oldest Person Dies Two Weeks After Earning Title

By Michael Mullins   |   Monday, 17 Dec 2012 03:36 PM

Less than two weeks after inheriting the title of world's oldest person, Iowan Dina Manfredini passed away on Monday at 115. She had assumed the mantle when 116-year-old Besse Cooper died in Georgia on Dec. 4.

Her granddaughter, Lori Logli, wouldn't elaborate on how Manfredini died at her retirement home.

Manfredini had lived longer than any other person of Italian ancestry recorded in history, according to Guinness World Records spokesman Robert Young. She moved to the U.S. from Italy in 1920, settling in Des Moines where she met and married her husband.

Manfredini, who proudly lived independently until she was 110, had primarily worked as a homemaker and mother, having cleaned houses until she was 90, according to Guinness.

Now, for the first time in over a decade, a man is the oldest living person. Jiroemon Kimura, 115, of Japan, who was born just 15 days after Manfredini, holds the title.

In interviews with various media outlets, Kimura, who reads newspapers every morning, said small food portions and spending much of his time in bed is key to living a long, healthy life.

According to a 2009 Health and Welfare Ministry in Japan, Kimura is one of over 40,000 living centenarians on the island nation.

Japan consistently has one of the highest life expectancies, with men on average living 80 years and women living 87 years, according to the United Nations.

On average, women live longer than men by five to 10 years in industrialized nations, with 85 percent of centenarians being woman, according to the New England Centenarian Study at Boston University.

Life expectancy varies considerably between countries, with people living in tropical regions being more likely to die seven years sooner than those living in other parts of the world, according to a 2010 “State of the Tropics” study.

The nation with the lowest life expectancy is the African country of Sierra Leone, where the average woman lives 49 years and average man lives 48 years.

The United States rounds out the top 20 nations with women living on average to 81, and men to 78.

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