Secret to Long Life is…Iowa?

NEWTON, Iowa — Let’s call it a surprise party, because turning 100 never looked so — easy.

“I feel pretty good!” smiled Dorothy Pickett who celebrated her 100th birthday in Newton, Monday.

She looked back on her own personal century.

“1992, country school,” she said, pointing to a picture of her grade school class in Lynnville.

What made today extra special was that she got to share the occasion with her friend, Florence Koppin.

“I’ve known her for 72 years!” Picket said.

Florence turned 100 in June but wanted to hold the party for Dorothy.

“Well, we lived about two miles apart, in the country.”

Now, they both live independently at McCann Village in Newton and they…

“They do not look like they’re 100 years old!” remarked Glenna Patterson, McCann’s activities director.

It’s time for the U.S. to reconsider centenarians. The number of Americans who reach their 100th birthday has gone up by 65% in the last 30 years.

Iowa has about 850 of them. Per capita, that’s the third most in the country.

Experts say those who make it to 100 often have a few things in common.

“I think it’s the fact that they’re active,” Patterson said, “that they’ve been hard workers; that they have family, and they have friends, and they love to laugh.”

Looking back, today, both agree that the world has changed drastically in 100 years, but for the most part, they’ve kept up.

“Yes, I’ve got a cell phone!” laughed Pickett.

It’s okay to be impressed by these ladies; they’ve reached a real milestone, but chances are, it’s one that’s within your reach, too.

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