Scientists have said that people can expect to live until their 125th birthday, within the next 50 years.
The researchers also forecast that a woman will reach the milestone of 125 by the year 2070.
“The first person to reach a century and a quarter is likely to be a Japanese woman.
“The Japanese have the highest life expectancy in the world, attributable to a diet high in fish and low in saturates and a good health service; and also because women have a biological advantage and tend to engage in less risky behaviours than men.
The researchers, from the University of Groningen in The Netherlands and Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute, say this is based on the soaring number of centenarians.
However, the claim, made in the journal Nature, has been challenged by US researchers who, last year, reported that human’s life expectancy had ‘plateaued’ at 115.
They say the chances of a 125-year-old living in 2070 is one in 20,000.
Backing up their new study, Prof. Fanny Janssen from the University of Groningen, said: “The population of centenarians is increasing rapidly and while the chances of centenarians surviving to even older ages are low, with a growing population, the probability will, of course, increase that more of them will reach a much higher age.
“People are living much longer than ever before, and will continue to do so, because of improvements in socio-economic circumstances, improved living standards, improved housing, and advances in medical care, from antibiotics to statins.
“The 125-year-old is likely to be a woman, because they have a biological advantage and tend to engage in less risky behaviours than men.”
A debate over how long humans can expect to live in the coming decades was sparked by Nature’s publication last October of findings that 115 years may be the limit of our lifespan.
A research team from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York analysed the International Database on Longevity, which has recorded the age of death from people in 41 countries, including the UK, between 1968 and 2006.
They found that people do keep living longer — but only up to a point. At that point, damage to our cells from old age appears to overcome humans and cause them to die.
In May, an Indonesian man called Sodimedio was claimed to have died at the age of 146, making him the oldest man ever to have lived, having been born in December 1870 according to his papers.