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The Bloomberg Global Health Index recently ranked the world’s healthiest (and unhealthiest) countries based on several factors including life expectancy, health risks (ie. tobacco use and high blood pressure), availability of clean water, malnutrition and causes of death. Coming in at the top spot with a health grade of 93.11 out of 100 is Italy, where babies born today can expect to live well into their 80s.
Perhaps it’s taking in the country’s beautiful coastlines or exploring its plentiful historic sites that keep the Italian brain and body feeling young. Or it could be Italy’s heart-healthy Mediterranean Diet, which includes a plethora of vegetables, extra virgin olive oil, fresh seafood, a healthy dose of wine and spending time relaxing with family and friends (mental health is important, too).
Coming in second place with an average lifespan of 81 years is Iceland, the Nordic island paradise that also ranked high in this year’s list of the world’s happiest countries. While an Icelandic diet is not particularly similar to that of Italy — there’s a lot of lamb and dairy as well as other delicacies like fermented shark — the two countries are similar in that their food is incredibly fresh, with most of it in Iceland being locally-sourced.
The third place spot is occupied by Switzerland, a country known for its gorgeous natural scenery and active, outdoorsy lifestyle. The Swiss also have a universal healthcare system that’s thought to be one of the best in the world.
Singapore made it into the fourth spot and while the cuisine there might not be the paramount factor in its citizens’ longevity — it’s mainly influenced by Malaysian, Chinese, Indian and Indonesian cuisine — the country is extraordinarily clean and has one of the world’s best healthcare systems.
Rounding out the top five healthiest countries is the sunny land down-under, Australia. Despite being home to some of the world’s most dangerous animals, Aussies are still likely to live quite a long and healthy life. Perhaps it’s the abundance of sunshine, beaches and outdoor activities or the overall happy-go-lucky nature of the people who live there, but clearly, they’re doing something right.
Spain, Japan, Sweden, Israel and Luxembourg finished out the top 10, while the remaining 15 countries in the top 25 appeared in the following order, starting with 11th place: Norway, Austria, the Netherlands, France, Finland, Germany, Canada, Cyprus, New Zealand, Greece, Portugal, Ireland, the UK, South Korea and Malta. Sadly, the United States came in 34th place, with a health grade of 73.05, mostly due to its high levels of overweight and obese residents.
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