View Comments
World s oldest person reveals birthday secrets
Besse Cooper blows out her candles. Picture: Guinness World Records

The world's oldest living person has revealed the secret to longevity.

"I mind my own business and I don't eat junk food," said Besse Cooper, who celebrated her 116th birthday at the weekend.

The former United States school teacher, from Monroe in Georgia, was first certified as the world's oldest person by Guinness World Records in January 2011.

According to Guinness, Cooper is one of only eight people who have reached 116.

Guinness World Records gerontology senior consultant Robert Young presented Besse with an updated Guinness World Records plaque as part of her nursing home birthday festivities at the weekend.

She had to relinquish the title for a few months when it was discovered that Brazilian-born Maria Gomes Valentim was 48 days older. However, when Maria died on June 21, 2011, Besse was reinstated as the world's oldest person and has held that title ever since, according to Guinness.

Born in Tennessee in 1896, Besse moved to Monroe, during World War One in search of work as a teacher.

She married her husband Luther in 1924, and they had four children. Today, she has 12 grandchildren and more than a dozen great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.

"The older she has gotten the more wittier she has gotten," Besse's son Sidney said.