Having been officially declared the world’s oldest living person, 116-year-old American Susannah Mushatt Jones has often been asked the secret of her longevity.
The revelation that she eats bacon every day will come as even more of a surprise following the World Health Organisation’s announcement that processed meats do cause cancer.
A daily breakfast of bacon, eggs and grits (boiled ground corn), combined with “lots of sleep”, has enabled the super centenarian to live across three centuries having been born in a small farm town near Montgomery, Alabama, in July 1899
Known as ‘T’, short for Auntie, by her 100 nieces and nephews, Ms Mushatt Jones was recognised by Guinness World Records in July and is still going strong.
One of 11 siblings, she attended a special school for young black girls and graduated from high school in 1922 when she began to work full time helping family members pick crops – her father was a sharecropper who picked cotton to support his wife and children.
She left Alabama later that year first to New Jersey before moving to New York earning around $7 a week as a live-in housekeeper and childcare provider to wealthy families. She had wanted to become a teacher and had been accepted to Tuskegee Institute’s Teacher’s Program, but her parents could not afford tuition.
Having been active in her neighbourhood “tenant patrol team” for over 30 years, for her 106th birthday celebrations the New York City Housing Authority paid tribute to her and she received a congratulatory tribute from New York mayor Michael Bloomberg who wished her “good health and great happiness.”
She said: “I never drink or smoke. I surround myself with love and positive energy. That’s the key to long life and happiness.”