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Demographics & Statistics

World’s Healthiest Nations

1 year, 7 months ago

4345  0
Posted on Feb 27, 2019, 3 p.m.

Spain(+5) has just surpassed Italy(-1) to become the world’s healthiest country according to Bloomberg’s 2019 Edition Healthiest Country Index; Iceland(-1), Japan(+3), and Switzerland(-2) round off the top 5, while the USA(-1) falls in at 35th.

The health index looks at life expectancy and environmental factors and ranks 169 economies according to factors that contributed to overall health. In the previous 2017 guage Spain had been ranked 6th, there must be something in the paella or gazpacho.

Four other European nations were ranked among the top 10 in this current edition: Iceland ranking 3rd; Switzerland ranking 5th; Sweden(+2) ranking 6th; and Norway(+2) being ranked 9th. The healthiest Asian nation is Japan making a jump up three rankings to 4th and replacing Singapore(-4) which dropped down to 8th. Australia(-2) ranked 7th and Israel(-1) ranked 10th to round off the top 10.

Nations are graded based on variables including life expectancy while also imposing penalties for risks such as tobacco use and obesity, and taking into consideration environmental factors including things such as access to clean water and sanitation. Health variables and risks ranging from behavioral nature to environment characteristics are also evaluated; only nations with at least 0.3 million in population and sufficient data are included in the final index, W.H.O has stated that 169 nation had met the criteria to be included.

Spain was ranked as having the highest life expectancy at birth in this edition among European nations which on the global scale only trails after Japan and Switzerland according to the United Nations data. Spain is projected to have the highest lifespan at close to 86 years by 2040, followed by Japan, Singapore, and Switzerland according to University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

The European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies 2018 review of Spain notes a decline in cardiovascular disease and deaths from cancer; and primary care is essentially provided by public providers, specialized family doctors and staff nurses to provide preventative services to children, women, and the elderly, as well as acute and chronic care.

Additionally healthier eating habits are suggested to provide clues to health levels in Spain and Italy, their Mediterranean diets are supplemented with extra virgin olive oil or nuts and have lower rates of major cardiovascular events than those assigned to reduced fat diets.

In North America Canada(+1) ranked in at 16th place which surpassed by far USA(-1) dropping to 35th, and Mexico(-2) also dropping to 53rd. USA life expectancy has been dropping due to deaths from drug overdoses and suicides.

The only nation not classified as a high income nation by the World Bank ranked higher than the USA, beating it by five spots, was Cuba(+1) being ranked 30th. The island’s success may be due to its emphasis on preventative care over the USA which is focussed on diagnosing and attempting to treat illness according to the American Bar Association Health Law Section report in 2018.

South Korea climbed up seven spots to be ranked 17th, while China improved three spots to be placed in 52nd. China which is home to approximately 1.4 billion is on track to surpass the USA by 2040 according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

Sub-Saharan economies represented 27 out of the 30 unhealthiest nations, Haiti, Yemen, and Afghanistan were the other three; with the healthiest in this economy being Mauritius raking 74th, which globally had the lowest death rate by communicable diseases in a region still struggling with infectious mortality.

France improved two spots coming in at 12th; the Netherlands dropped two going to 15th; the UK climbed up four spots to 19th; Germany decreased seven spots to 23rd; Albania improved seven spots to 43rd; Greece fell six spots to 26th; Estonia jumped up six going to 32nd; and Macedonia plummeted twelve spots to rank 56th.

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