Healthiest Countries Ranking: Some Shifts Have Occurred

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Healthiest Countries Ranking: Some Shifts Have Occurred
Healthiest Countries Ranking: Some Shifts Have Occurred

Video: Healthiest Countries Ranking: Some Shifts Have Occurred

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Healthiest countries ranking: some shifts have occurred

The top ten Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index includes five more European countries: Italy (2nd place), Iceland (3rd), Switzerland (5th), Sweden (6th) and Norway (9th). The healthiest Asian countries were Japan (4th, up three points since the 2017 survey) and Singapore (8th). Australia (7th) and Israel (10th) are also in the top 10.

Healthiest countries ranking: some shifts have occurred
Healthiest countries ranking: some shifts have occurred

Photo: Bloomberg /

Spain is recognized as the healthiest country in the world according to the 2019 Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index.

According to factors affecting overall health, 169 countries with a population of at least 0.3 million were assessed. Estimates were based on variables including life expectancy, with risks such as tobacco use and obesity subtracted. Environmental factors were also taken into account, including access to clean water and sanitation.

Five more European countries entered the top ten: Italy (2nd place), Iceland (3rd), Switzerland (5th), Sweden (6th) and Norway (9th). The healthiest Asian countries were Japan (4th, up three points since the 2017 survey) and Singapore (8th). Australia (7th) and Israel (10th) are also in the top 10.

According to the UN, Spain has the highest life expectancy since birth among the EU countries, in the world it is second only to Japan and Switzerland. The University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation predicts Spain's highest life expectancy by 2040 - almost 86 years; it is followed by Japan, Singapore and Switzerland.

“Primary care is mainly provided by government providers, specialized family doctors and nurses who provide preventive services for children, women and the elderly, and care for acute and chronic diseases,” said Spain in the European Overview of Health Systems and Policies (European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies). There has also been a decline in cardiovascular disease and cancer deaths over the past decade.

Eating habits of Spaniards and Italians have a positive impact on health, as following a “Mediterranean diet” reduces the risk of serious cardiovascular disease more than a low-fat diet, according to a study by the University of Navarra Medical School.

In North America, Canada (16th) is well ahead of the United States (35th) and Mexico (53rd). Life expectancy in the United States is falling due to drug overdose deaths and suicide.

Cuba, the only high-ranked country not classified by the World Bank as “high income,” is five points ahead of the United States (30th). Part of the reason for this success, highlighted in last year's report by the American Bar Association Health Law Section, is the emphasis on preventive medicine, diagnosis and treatment.

Compared to the previous rankings, South Korea climbed seven points (17th place), while China climbed three (52nd). Data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation show that by 2040, life expectancy in China is expected to be higher than in the United States.

Haiti, Afghanistan, Yemen, as well as 27 sub-Saharan countries round out the ranking. The healthiest state in sub-Saharan Africa is Mauritius (74th), thanks to the lowest death rate from infectious diseases.

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