Andorrans Now Have Longest Life Expectancy

In a study conducted by World Health Organization, the people with the longest life expectancy are, unexpectedly, not the Japanese.  They are found in a tiny country wedged in the Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain.

The Principality of Andorra, a beautiful land-locked country in the valleys of eastern Pyrenees, offers its residents a peaceful life, which they believe is the reason why they live longer than anyone else on the planet.

Part of its secret can be attributed to geography.  Its quiet isolation high up the mountains has created a relatively stress-free lifestyle among its residents, who are expected to live at least 82.5 years.  Statistics from the United States Census Department, meanwhile, indicate that the average Andorrans can live for up to 85 years, still on top of the life expectancy sweepstakes.

But beyond their relative isolation, their secrets to their long lives are not really secrets.  For one, Andorrans live on the idea of living well and healthy.  They practice the Mediterranean eating habits with ease because of their proximity to the sea, consuming their fair share of fresh produce and the liberal usage of olive oil instead of butter.  Exercise, meanwhile, comes naturally with each of its residents, as walking up and down the hillsides is part of daily activities.

Health experts in Andorra claim that living in the mountains is, in general, healthier for both mind and body.  "It’s because we have this natural environment that we have such a balanced health," Dr. Albert Font, Director of Andorra’s Geriatric Clinic, said in an interview with CNN.

The elderly Andorrans are active for their age.  Outside their Assisted Living Residence, senior citizens in their 80s and 90s go out for a morning walk, although slowly yet surely.  After that warm-up, they head to the Residence’s gym for stationary bike riding and exercise class.  Some of the seniors do not even live in this assisted home, as they simply visit for the exercise program, then head back to their homes.

Andorra is also proud of its healthcare service, which is given free to all of its residents.  Pregnant women are required to undergo pre-natal checkups, while patients with health insurance have the option to choose their doctor-a practice that is unlikely to happen in many industrialized countries.

However, times are changing even in this small country as the older generation worries that the slow invasion of fast food and passivity brought by video games may have a negative impact on the life expectancy of future generations.