Top 10 Healthiest Countries in The World
|Top 10 Healthiest Countries in The World. Photo EidTour|
We all know it’s important to eat our five a day, get our daily dose of exercise, and make time to relax and support our mental health. But some countries seem to be leaps and bounds ahead of others when it comes to keeping in tip-top condition. So what’s their secret?
In this article, we take a peek at the leaderboard for the healthiest countries around the globe, to find out which population is coming out on top – and, more importantly, discover what they’re doing right.
For those looking at staying healthy abroad, these rankings from the Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index will be of interest. The rankings took into account variables such as life expectancy and environmental factors, such as access to clean water and sanitation. Here are the top 10 healthiest countries in the world:
10 - Israel
9 - Norway
8 - Singapore
7 - Australia
6 - Sweden
5 - Switzerland
4 - Japan
3 - Iceland
2 - Italy
1 – Spain
Check out the reasons why!
10 - Israel
Israel comes in at 10th place on the list. The country has a universal healthcare system that covers all citizens and permanent residents. Medical staff in Israel are typically well-trained and are also usually able to speak English.
For some, these findings may come as a surprise, since Israel has had to endure a 70-year history of war and perpetual conflict. Despite this, the chance of dying from heart disease, stroke, cancer, or diabetes at ages 30-70 is among the lowest in the world here.
The main secret to Israel’s longevity is – yep, you guessed it – the Mediterranean diet, but low alcohol consumption also helps keep Israelis in tip-top shape. Similar to some of the other countries on our list, the close family structure in Israel is an important reason why the population generally has a longer lifespan – this way, people can comfortably receive help and support if they’re suffering.
The most important factor affecting longevity in Israel is the efficient Israeli healthcare system.
Israel guarantees healthcare to all citizens as a fundamental right, with a national health insurance law passed in 1995 providing universal coverage.
It has also been argued that compulsory army service may have a positive influence on public health. One of the characteristics of military service is physical training and, in Israel, there is a relatively low mortality rate from diseases that are influenced by physical exercises, such as heart disease and certain types of cancer.
9 – Norway
Norway’s impressive average life expectancy is a result of the active Norwegian lifestyle, a diet that’s full of Omega−3 fatty acids, and a robust healthcare system that’s funded by the public.
While these are all important for a healthy lifestyle, Norway’s infrastructure plays a pivotal part in the population’s lifespan. The country takes pride in great educational opportunities, a low unemployment rate (the lowest in Scandinavia with 4.1%), and total transparency when it comes to taxation – which keeps companies accountable and forces them to offer fair salaries.
While money can’t buy happiness, it is an important means of achieving higher living standards. In Norway, the average household net-adjusted disposable income per capita is £27,767 a year – higher than the OECD average of £26,118 a year.
8 - Singapore
Next up, we have Singapore, which has one of the best life expectancy rates in the world. Singaporeans have a remarkably efficient healthcare system and effective chronic disease management, where efforts are put into early prevention and detection, as well as close monitoring by doctors. Their diet is rich in vegetables, hearty meats and fish.
It is not to say that its training is more known for its food scene than in its training classes, but Singapore is one of the most healthy countries in Asia. People here are balancing their love for hawker food with an active lifestyle – in fact, the government has distributed free bits to its citizens in 2012 even those who have been studying the exercise carts have the best health care in the world.
7 - Australia
Australia is next up. The country has one of the highest life expectancies in the world, accompanied by decreasing smoking and death rates, which have been dropping over the years. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has reported that not only people in Australia are living longer, but are living with more years free of disability.
Put simply, Australians are able to enjoy the perks of financial stability, which is also boosted by their wholesome diets, sporty tendencies, and laid-back attitudes.
A Global Burden of Disease research group expert, Laureate Professor Alan Lopez, points out that the main difference between the likes of Australia and the US is equal access to health services.
Professor of Global Health at Monash University Jane Fisher said Australia has one of the best health systems in the world. “We have Medicare which does provide everyone with access to primary health care, and also to hospital-based services, especially for emergencies and care for acute illnesses,” Professor Fisher told The New Daily.
6 – Sweden
With carbohydrates and fat-low diets, The Swedish Nordic countries have the second-highest life span (82 years, Norway after 83 years) are you heading for Fika?
Sweden is seen as a great place for expats and is also one of the 10 best places to raise a family. This thriving Scandinavian country offers a tremendous quality of life and a high standard of healthcare.
**READ MORE: TOP 15 Most Popular Holidays in Sweden
5 - Switzerland
Next up on the list is Switzerland. Although there is no universal health coverage in the country, the healthcare system is very well regarded. Standards are usually very high across the board, waiting lists aren’t an issue and there’s no language barrier as doctors normally speak English, especially in the city.
With many being known as the best healthcare system in the world, the Swiss have high expectations of some lives (84 years). Other important factors include drinking water, low crime rates, and a high career balance. We all think that the Alpine can do something with skiing.
Switzerland is home to one of the happiest populations. In fact, according to the World Economic Forum's 2013 Human Capital Report, Switzerland invests more in the health, education and talent of its people than any other country in the world.
4 - Japan
Healthy food is a big reason why Japan ranks so high on the list. Japan has always had a solid reputation for eating well and the country also has a terrific healthcare system.
The islands at the southern end of Japan have historically been known for longevity. Okinawans typically have less cancer, heart disease, and dementia than Americans – and women there live longer than any women on the planet.
The most obvious reason why the Japanese population has such a long life expectancy is down to the country’s traditional diet, which typically consists of rice, fish, vegetables, seaweed, Japanese pickles, green tea, and miso (a kind of fermented soybean product). Unlike a lot of Western diets, this diet has a very low intake of red meat, which has been linked to health issues such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Japanese culture also takes mental wellbeing into consideration. The Slow Movement, which emerged in Japan in the late 90s, encourages people to stay connected with others, as well as with nature. The movement acknowledges the richness of rural life and communities.
The Blue Zone suggests that Japan’s greatest secret is a strong dedication to friends and family. Okinawans maintain a powerful social network called a ‘moai’ – a lifelong circle of friends that supports people well into old age.
3 - Iceland
Iceland is next up on the list. Icelanders have a terrific mix of good food and outdoor exercise. Their love of adventure sports include kayaking and rock climbing. Fresh seafood makes up a large part of the local diet.
There is a lot of writing about the northern lights and the northern food and it seems that both have sent Iceland to the top of the list. The country’s citizens are active and out of state and a diet that combines fresh seafood and farm meat helps men and women to save their lives in the 1980s. (And some of these restorations of the Blue Lagoon must be).
2 – Italy
Italy is another country that benefits from the Mediterranean diet, but this is only one of the reasons why Italians are living longer than people in other countries.
There is something to be said for the Italian pace of life – not having to rush around allows time for leisure, family, frequent walks, and plenty of opportunity to enjoy the sunshine. Italy is actually home to one of the few Blue Zones around the world, situated in Sardinia. So what are Sardinians doing right?
Well, first and foremost, Sardinians’ strong family values make sure that every member of the family is cared for. On top of this, studies have found that Sardinians take regular walks, rather than doing vigorous exercise, which adds more time onto their life.
And whilst excessive alcohol is bad for the body, drinking moderate amounts of Cannonau wine has also been said to improve one’s lifespan. This type of wine has two or three times the level of artery-cleaning flavonoids as other wines. Bottoms up!
1 – Spain
There must be something in Paella because Spain is officially the healthiest country of the world. It mentioned a few reasons such as their Mediterranean lifestyle, walking as a mode of transport, which helps to lower deaths caused by pollution, cost of living is moderate among other things why the country topped their list.
With the food items in olive oil, vegetables, meat, and red wine, the people are more concerned with the freshness and the location of the food. (Spanish people also recommend eating less fast food than other European countries other than Italy) From a far-reaching point, you can’t reduce the quality of any good nap…
The country has an excellent healthcare system, with high quality care offered in both the public and private sector. Researchers have also cited the Mediterranean diet as one of the reasons for Spain’s top ranking.
According to a study led by the University of Navarra Medical School, this diet “supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts, had a lower rate of major cardiovascular events than those assigned to a reduced-fat diet”.
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