Life expectancy in Prague highest in Czech Republic

People try all sorts of things in order to live longer, and now the Czech Institute of Health Information and Statistics has come up with some new advice. Quite simply - move to Prague. Those living in the Czech capital can expect to live up to five years longer than their peers in other parts of the country.

Women in Prague live for an average of 80 years, that’s 5 years more than their counterparts in Usti nad Labem, northern Bohemia. And men living in the capital have an average life expectancy of 75 years, which is 4 years more than those living in Usti – home to the lowest life expectancy in the Czech Republic. Krystof Zeman is a demographer from the Czech Statistical Office, he explains:

“It’s mainly because of the composition of the population. In Prague and in bigger cities in general, there is a higher proportion of university educated people. And in Europe and in developed countries generally, people with higher education live much longer than people with lower education. The other reason could be the closer proximity to hospitals, and the better healthcare on offer than in smaller cities or villages.”

Iva Holmerova is the head of the Czech Gerontological and Geriatrical Society. She agrees that good health care is one of the reasons why inhabitants of the capital live to a ripe old age. And she goes even further:

“There is better communication in the cities. There are also various activities for senior citizens here, more than in smaller cities. There are many organizations for older people here, which organize different courses for them like internet courses and so on. So I think old people are better provided for in Prague than they are in other regions.”

The media has reacted to the figures by asking whether a region’s history has any direct effect on its life expectancy. What does Krystof Zeman think?

“In the Czech Republic there is a very clear pattern. In the north west of the country – that is the north of Moravia – life expectancy is lower, and there is a higher divorce rate, and a higher abortion rate and so on. And I think that this is very connected to heavy industry, to the chemical industry and to coal-mining in the north west of the country.”

But Iva Holmerova doesn’t agree:

“I would guess that people’s lifestyles are more influential, actually, and whether they avoid unhealthy habits or not. And information – I think information is crucial for the health of older people.”

Well, armed with this information, I don’t think I’ll be planning a move anytime soon.