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Study on factors responsible for high life expectancy in the elderly population in the peripheral area of northwest Sinharaja forest

Authors:

S. K. M. Ali ,

University of Ruhuna, Matara, LK
About S. K. M.
Department of Geography
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R. K. C. Kumara

University of Kelaniya, Kelaniya, LK
About R. K. C.
Faculty of Graduate Studies
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Abstract

Sinharaja, a world heritage forest reserve, is one of the least disturbed and biologically unique lowland rain forests in Sri Lanka. Although a forest providing a conducive and healthy environment for high life expectancy is a general consensus, no such studies have been carried out. The main objective of the study was to find out the factors responsible for high life expectancy in the elderly population of northwest (NW) Sinharaja forest peripheral area. Two Grama Niladhari Divisions (GN) comprising six villages in the NW slope of Sinharaja forest were taken as the study area in the Kalawana District Secretariat Division. Of the total elderly population of 80 in the six villages, 61% of the elderly persons of both sexes of over 60 years were selected randomly for the study. A house to house approach based on a questionnaire survey was the primary investigation method. Interviews, case studies, and field observations were supplementary methods used. Simple statistical analysis such as percentages was used to interpret the data. The research was carried out between May-December 2011. Results show that the oldest in the sample was 99 years and in good health. Good quality food with indigenous knowledge on their food value, occupations directly linked to the forest which entailed long walks and fresh air, time for leisure, a simple life style without stress and tension has contributed to a higher life expectancy in the elderly population. Their memory was sharp and remembered over 100 food items gathered from the forest.

Journal of the University of Ruhuna 2013 1(2): 3-8

How to Cite: Ali, S.K.M. & Kumara, R.K.C., (2014). Study on factors responsible for high life expectancy in the elderly population in the peripheral area of northwest Sinharaja forest. Journal of the University of Ruhuna. 1(2), pp.3–8. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/jur.v1i2.6620
Published on 24 Feb 2014.
Peer Reviewed

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