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Learning English - Words in the News
 
15 October, 2008 - Published 12:00 GMT
 
Andorra longevity
 
Stressed
Stressed out? Not in Andorra

The tiny European principality of Andorra seems to have discovered the secret of longevity. Life expectancy there, according to the World Health Organisation, is top of the global league. Our correspondent Paul Henley reports from Andorra:

Listen to the story

COUNTING IN SPANISH

Water aerobics classes like this one for pensioners in one of Andorra's many pristine public swimming pools are free and frequent. It's normal here, high in the Pyrenees between France and Spain, to be active into old age. The average life expectancy is 83.5 and there are lots of people here in their late nineties.

Exercise is one reason, others are clean air, healthy diet, lots of lean meat, vegetables and olive oil and a world class health service. Perhaps the secret ingredient is low stress levels. Government spokesman Juli Minovez puts that partly down to history:

MINOVEZ:
We've had 700 years of peace in Andorra, and so many years of peace, no army - it also gives a lot of peace of mind to people. So I think there is also a psychological factor, you know. From the moment you were born, you know you live in a country that hasn't had a conflict for seven centuries - that must be there for something.

The growing population of Andorra is quietly proud of its world-beating longevity.

Paul Henley, BBC News, Andorra

Listen to the words

Water aerobics
exercises performed to music in a swimming pool, usually in an organised group (also known as aqua-aerobics)

pristine
new and in very good condition

life expectancy
the number of years that you can expect to live, according to statistics

diet
what you usually eat

lean meat
meat that has very little or no fat

world class
of excellent quality, performing to the highest of standards

the secret ingredient
here, the reason/factor that is not obvious

puts that partly down to history
says that, to a certain extent, it has a historical explanation

peace of mind
lack of worry and/or problems

longevity
long life



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