Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Just glancing over the list of countries with the longest life expectancy, we could not help but notice how many countries on the list are either bounded completely by the sea (Japan or New Zealand) or have a majority of their population relatively close to the ocean (Australia and Singapore).

Could there be a relationship?

72-year-old Akiko Nakazawa [shown on left] might think so. Nakazawa competes in masters swimming and open water swimming competitions including the 3 km World Masters Swimming Championships and participated in 3 relays (including 2 two-way) across the English Channel. She also was a swimming instructor and completed a breaststroke crossing between Shimoda, a coastal city on the Izu Peninsula, and Oshima Island in Japan.

1 Japan (population of 127.1 million) 86.5 years
2 Italy (60.0 million) 84.6
3 Andorra (0.07 million) 84.2
4 Singapore (5.3 million) 84
5 Hong Kong (7.1 million) 83.8
6 San Marino (0.03 million) 83.5
7 Iceland (0.3 million) 83.3
8 Monaco (0.03 million) 83.1
9 Australia (23.4 million) 83
10 Sweden (9.6 million) 83
11 Switzerland (8.0 million) 82.8
12 Canada (35.3 million) 82.5
13 France (65.8 million) 82.3
14 Israel (8.1 million) 82.1
15 Spain (46.6 million) 82
16 Luxembourg (0.05 million) 82
17 Norway (5.1 million) 81.9
18 New Zealand (4.5 million) 81.7
19 Austria (8.5 million) 81.5
20 Netherlands (16.8 million) 81.5

Data from the World Health Organization (2013)

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