The country we live in has a much bigger impact than we think on our health. Indeed, we may first think about our sleep habits, nutrition, etc. But if we live in a country filled with poor fast food and too little green space, it seems obvious that it will be harder to stay healthy.
Spain is now the healthiest country in the world according to the 2019 edition of the Bloomberg index which ranks 169 countries according to the factors that contribute to the overall health of the population.
Spain has the highest life expectancy at birth among the countries of the European Union and is only globally exceeded by Japan and Switzerland. According to the University of Washington Institute for Health Evaluation, Spain is expected to have the longest life expectancy in 20 years in the world.
Researchers also believe that eating habits play a big role in health status and partly explain the high places of Italy and Spain in the ranking of the healthiest countries. Indeed, the Mediterranean diet, consisting of fruits, vegetables, garlic, onions, sheep’s cheese, fish, extra virgin olive oil and walnuts, promotes the maintenance of a healthy of iron. The followers of this diet have notably less cardiovascular problems than the followers of a lightened diet, according to a study conducted by the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Navarre.
Four other European countries are among the top 10 in the 2019 rankings: Iceland (third place), Switzerland (fifth), Sweden (sixth) and Norway (ninth). France is only twelfth. Japan (fourth place) is now the healthiest Asian nation, with three spots up from the previous edition, replacing Singapore, which dropped from fourth to eighth. Australia and Israel top the top 10 with seventh and tenth respectively.
In addition to variables such as life expectancy, the index also takes into account risk factors such as smoking and obesity. It also considers environmental factors, including the quality of sanitary facilities and access to drinking water.
For example, in North America, Canada ranks 16th, far ahead of the United States and Mexico, falling to 35th and 53rd positions. Life expectancy in the United States has tended to decline, notably because of obesity, drug problems and suicides, so that in 20 years it will be lower than that of China, which for now progresses in the ranking of the healthiest countries to be now in 52nd place worldwide. Sub-Saharan African countries represent 27 of the 30 least healthy countries in the rankings. Haiti, Afghanistan and Yemen are the other 3.
Here are the top 10 healthiest countries on the planet:
It’s good to live in Europe, according to Bloomberg’s ranking of the countries whose inhabitants have the best health in the world. Six of the top ten countries are European. A Mediterranean country is even preparing to dethrone Japan, champion of life expectancy until now.
Israel occupies the tenth position that allows it to have a good place in the Middle East. The country loses a place compared to the 2017 ranking. Besides its good food trends, Israel also has a comparatively high life expectancy of 82.9 years according to data from the World Health Organization, the eighth best in the world .
The land of the fjords is the first of the six European nations in the top 10 and the second largest in the Nordic clan. In 2015, Norway had the highest number of nurses and midwives per capita in Europe. On the other hand, the country has the highest rate of drug overdose and suicide in the Nordic countries among the under-49s.
The small city-state of Singapore ranks eighth this year, losing four places but also its position of Asian nation whose inhabitants have the best health. The country has one of the highest life expectancies (83.1 years) in the region and a reputable health system.
Australia loses two places in this year’s ranking. But the country, known for its sports culture and its wide open spaces, is, without any real surprise, one of the places where the inhabitants have the best health in the world.
Sweden has moved from eighth place in 2017 to sixth this year, thanks to a strong public health system, which accounts for about 12% of GDP, one of the highest ratios in the world.
In this beautiful mountainous country, a diet rich in fruit and cereals and an active sports culture keep Switzerland in the top 10. But it lost two places compared to the 2017 ranking.
Japan moved to Singapore, becoming the healthiest nation in Asia in 2019. Its diet of fatty fish and rice helps to establish one of the highest life expectancies in the world (83.7 years) .
High life expectancy (82.7 years), social protection system with a highly developed model of care and public health, the keys to Iceland’s good place.
Italy is one of the best eating countries in the world. Research has shown that the Mediterranean diets are among the healthiest and that Italy thus maintains high life expectancy while enjoying a healthier sea air guaranteeing a higher quality of life especially in Sardinia.
In Spain, “primary care is mainly provided by public providers, specialized family doctors and nursing assistants who provide services to children, women and the elderly, thus preventing chronic diseases”, analyzes the European Observatory health systems and policies, which show a decline in cardiovascular disease and cancer deaths over the last decade.
One of the secrets of Spanish health – just like that of the Italians – lies in their diet. The Mediterranean diet, also called Cretan diet, has many benefits. It reduces for example the risks of cardiovascular accidents and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Life expectancy on the other side of the Pyrenees amounts to nearly 83 years and should exceed that of the Japanese by 2040 (with nearly 86 years on average).