July 22, 2005

Japan’s women set long life record for 20th year

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese women had a life expectancy of
85.59 years in 2004, making them the world's longest living
group for the 20th consecutive year, the government said on

Japanese men trailed with a life expectancy of 78.64 years,
which placed them second for longevity after Icelandic men, who
live an average of 78.8 years.

The government attributes Japanese longevity to a range of
factors, including a healthy diet and improving medical care, a
spokeswoman for the Health Ministry said.

The Japanese diet tends to be rich in vegetables and fish
products and relatively low in animal fats.

But long life expectancies combined with a tumbling birth
rate may be storing up problems for Japan, where one in five of
the population is over 65 and the figure is expected to jump to
one in four in the next decade.

Women in Hong Kong were the second longest living group in
the world, according to Japanese government figures, followed
by Swiss women.