01/08/2013 05:52 pm ET Updated Jan 08, 2013

Mekey Yetashawork, 103-Year-Old Man, Shares The Secret To His Longevity (VIDEO)

Colorado may not have made U.S. News' list of states where Americans are likely to live the longest, but 103-year-old Denver resident Mekey Yetashawork says there's more to his age than where he lives.

For the past 12 years, Yetashawork has taken to the concourse in the city's Cherry Creek Shopping Center where he walks a half a mile everyday.

“Exercise must be done daily,” he told NBC News affilate KUSA. "Until you die, you have to move," Yetashawork said, adding that he only eats once a day (letting his stomach "rest" in between) and prays for the remainder of his strength.

The Ethiopian refugee joins a growing number of people who are living past 100, according to recent Census Bureau data showing that the centenarian population has grown 65.8 percent over the past thirty years.

And while Yetashawork touts his secrets, the Census Bureau cites a few other keys to centenarians' success.

According to a report analyzing data from the 2010 Census, an overwhelming percentage of those who live to 100 are female -- 82 percent to be exact. In addition, the population tends to be white (82.5 percent, compared to just 12 percent of African American), and more live with others, either in a nursing home or household, than alone.

City living, particularly in the Northeast and Midwest, were also shown to be characteristic of living into old age, though South Carolina native Mamie Rearden defied those odds, celebrating 114 birthdays and making history as America's oldest living person until her death last week.



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