MSN had an interesting slide show on health and one of the slides had to do with life expectancy now verses in 1900. In 1900, only 4% of the population was over 65 years old. Most likely those who reached that prime old age weren't as healthy as we are today.
Now, we can expect to live to be about 77 years old. We have a lot to thank for being able to age gracefully. Safety regulations on the workplace, medical and dental improvements, and less infant mortality. To learn more about this see MSN Health and Fitness site at http://health.msn.com/health-topics/slideshow.aspx?cp-documentid=100216806&imageindex=8.