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Beijing leads China in longevity
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A rise in living standards over the past 60 years has added about three decades to lifespans in Beijing, the capital's office for senior citizens said Friday.

The average life expectancy of Beijing residents reached 80.24 years as of 2008, top in the country, the office said. That lifespan compares with 52.8 years for Beijingers when the New China was founded in 1949.

Beijing has 396 people aged above 100 years, it said, compared with 311 in 2006, 247 in 2003 and 190 in 2001.

The office said its survey of centenarians found most of them lived a healthy lifestyle, which included good personal hygiene, eating sparingly and drinking in moderation. Most were also "optimistic and cheerful," it said.

Beijing's population neared 17 million at the end of last year.

Liu Keqin, now 109, is the oldest person in Beijing, according to the Beijing Daily. Although he's hard of hearing, Liu can still take care of himself, said Wang Jingxia, his granddaughter-in-law.

(Xinhua News Agency March 6, 2009)

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