Can You Guess Which Country Is the Healthiest in the World?
Pasta lovers, rejoice. Living (and eating!) like an Italian could be the key to a long, healthy life.
Geographically, Italy may sit in the southern part of Europe, but its health is apparently tops. The Mediterranean nation is No. 1 on the newly released Bloomberg Global Health Index, a ranking of 163 countries by healthfulness around the globe. Italy’s healthiness may be attributable to the country’s cuisine, with its emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and fish, and extra virgin olive oil, BloombergMarkets suggests.
To compile the index, Bloomberg took into account overall life expectancy; the rate of death from various diseases and injuries; mental health and vaccination rates; health risks from factors including high blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol; and the prevalence of obesity, tobacco use, childhood malnutrition and alcohol consumption, as well as a other data, including greenhouse gas emissions per capita and access to clean drinking water.
After crunching the numbers, Italy was deemed to be “the healthiest country on Earth,” edging out Iceland, Switzerland, Singapore and Australia, which ranked in second through fifth place, respectively. Rounding out the top 10 were Spain (No. 6), Japan (No. 7), Sweden (No. 8), Israel (No. 9) and Luxembourg (No. 10). Canada ranked No. 17; the United Kingdom slid in at No. 23.
And how did the United States fare? Alas, a bit further down the list … at No. 34. Among the factors holding us back was the preponderance of Americans who are overweight or obese. We are among the heaviest countries in the world, and the health issue is most pronounced in states like Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and West Virginia, where, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the rate of obesity tips the scales at upwards of 35 percent.
Italy, meanwhile, had lower rates of high blood pressure and cholesterol and better mental illness than not only Americans, but Canadians and British people as well. It also has a free universal healthcare system and lots of doctors.
Doctors who prescribe pasta, perhaps?