Where do people live longest – both in the UK and in the rest of the world?

Why is this? Is it our genes, our personality or our healthcare system? Does our social status or our mental health make a difference? Or is it our lifestyle and, if so, what aspects matter most? 

What can we learn from research into longevity around the world? 

You can find out more through the articles below - and we would welcome your feedback, at info@agewatch.org.uk: 

Adding years to life 

On average people in the UK are living longer. But is this due to good health or is it thanks to modern medicine? Read our interview with Dr Charles Alessi, Chairman of The National Association of Primary Care, on health and longevity and what we can do to reduce the risk of chronic illness. Find out more

‘Blue zones’ 

There are some parts of the world where people seem to live longer. Why do people in these ‘blue zones’ enjoy particularly long lives? Is it a question of genetics or is it a result of their lifestyle? What secrets can we learn from them? Find out more


In the UK, the number of people aged 100 and over has risen by 72% over the last decade - to 14,450 in 2014 (ONS). Is the rise of centenarians a result of their lifestyle choices, genes or something else? And what role does personality play in longevity? Find out more

Eat less and live longer 

Can a low calorie diet really help us live longer? How reliable is the evidence and are there any health risks if we eat less? Find out more

The foetal hypothesis 

How does our time in the womb affect our health later in life? Can a low birth weight really increase our chances of developing chronic illness in adulthood? If so, how can we prevent this and what can we do to reverse any harmful effects? Find out more

Japanese longevity 

Why do the Japanese tend to live longer than people in other countries? Is their longevity a result of good genes, healthcare or lifestyle? What lessons can we learn from them to improve our own health and longevity? Find out more


Laughter is often described as the ‘best medicine’ but is there actually any evidence that laughing brings health benefits? And if so, are these benefits a result of laughter itself or something else? Find out more 

Longevity in the UK 

Why does life expectancy differ across the UK? Can our postcode really influence how long we might live? If so, what can we do to improve our chances of living a longer and healthier life wherever we are? Find out more

Longevity quiz 

How much do you know about longevity? Take our short quiz to find out! 

Status and health 

Can our social status really affect our health and life expectancy? How reliable is the research and what are the other factors affecting longevity? Find out more 

Stay healthy longer 

Today people are living longer but are spending more time in poor health. What can we do to reduce the risk of lifestyle related diseases and increase our chances of staying healthy for longer? Find out more

Tips for a healthy life 

What can we do to stay healthy for longer? Follow our tips on diet, exercise, smoking and drinking to increase your chances of enjoying a healthy life for as long as possible. Find out more

Updated 04/07/14, Reviewed and updated by Stephanie Reynolds May 2016, next update 2019