Another day, another ranking of the world's best. This week? The Bloomberg Global Health Index evaluated 163 countries, looking for the world's healthiest based on variables such as life expectancy, causes of death, and health risks including malnutrition, high blood pressure, and tobacco use. Counting down...
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This small country—positioned between Belgium, France, and Germany—doesn't necessarily have the cuisine dietitians dream of (think lots of cheese, meat, and potatoes), but draws points for its health care system, promotion of physical activity in schools and in public, and public centers kind of like a YMCA. What's Luxembourgish for "Where's the closest gym?"
Israel has a diet rich in vegetables, fish, and unsaturated fat, which pays off. According to a study from the Volcani Center, Israel’s government-sponsored agricultural research organization, some 80 percent of survey respondents said they ate fruit and vegetables every day. Israelis also have some of the lowest cholesterol levels in the world, and diets here actually improve with age: Adults in their 50s and 60s eat the healthiest foods.
With a diet that’s low in carbs and high in the right kind of fats, Swedes are second among Nordic countries in terms of life expectancy. Moving to the country of fikas and saunas? Be prepared to get out and about: According to a 2013 survey from the European Commission, Sweden is where the largest number of people exercise regularly.
Thanks to a combination of exercise and diet, the island nation has the oldest population in the world—scientists say one quarter of Japan’s population is older than 65, and the Okinawa prefecture purportedly has the largest population of centenarians in the world. The Okinawan practice of hara hachi bu—eating until you're 80 percent full—has also shown to promote longevity and reduce the prevalence of disease.
Spain’s diet is full of olive oil, fresh vegetables, lean meats, and red wine—and that emphasis on freshness and locality is evident elsewhere: The country eats less fast food other European countries. When it comes to health, you can't discount the value of a good siesta, either...
Looks like Traveler had the right idea when we named Australia our destination of 2016: One look at the beaches and these Instagrammable breakfasts, and it's easy to see why so many of their citizens are healthy and happy (paging Chris Hemsworth). Locally sourced food isn't a trend—it's a way of life here, as is getting outdoors.
The world’s most expensive place to live has something else going for it: It’s the healthiest country in Asia, according to the report. The city-state is better known for its food scene than, say, its workout classes, it has world-class health care for reasonable prices. Then again, there is the "hawker-food diet"...
It’s no surprise that the best country in the world, according to U.S. News & World Report, also ranks at the top here: In addition to having what many call the world's best health care system, period, the Swiss also have some of the highest life expectancies in the world—all that fresh air and skiing in the Alps no doubt have something to do with this.
Much has been written about the Northern Lights and Nordic cuisine, and it turns out, both helped bump Iceland toward the top of this list. The country’s citizens are active and outdoorsy, and a diet largely of fresh seafood and free-range meat helps keep life expectancy in the 80s for both men and women. (Turns out, there is something to those restorative Blue Lagoon baths, too.)
Che meraviglia: Children born in Italy can expect to live into their eighties. According to Bloomberg, Italy also has an “excess of doctors,” and the country's vegetable- and olive oil-rich diet leads to better cholesterol and overall health. Time to add add “being healthy” to the list of things Italians do better than everyone else.