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Healthiest Cities in the World

What defines a healthy city? Is it a place with a lot of open spaces where people can exercise and enjoy the fresh air? A place with little or no pollution? A place where people can freely socialize and express their ideas without the fear of oppression? According to think tanks like the Economist Intelligence Unit and Gallup Poll it’s all that plus more.

Other considerations were the availability of health and fitness facilities, an excellent healthcare program and sincere efforts by the local government to actively promote health and wellness among its citizens. Of all the cities in the world, the honor of the top 10 healthiest cities goes to the following.

10. Zurich, Switzerland

Zurich residents have a competitive yet healthy attitude when it comes to sports. Sports play an active part in how they keep fit and in the general civic mindset. There are many types of sports facilities to choose from and many international sporting organizations also have their main headquarters located there. Aside from the body, the Zurich local government also pays attention to cultivating the mind. There are more than nine museums in the city, including the Swiss National Museum and the Rietberg Museum which houses exhibits from all over the globe. It also has three of the country’s biggest universities. Like the Austrians, the Swiss also take good care of their citizens when it comes to healthcare, the Swiss government spends more than 11 percent of its Gross Domestic Product for universal healthcare coverage.

9. Calgary, Canada

Five years ago Forbes magazine declared this city in Alberta, Canada the cleanest city in the world. It may no longer have that record but it is still one of the cleanest in the world today. There are great ways to keep fit all year round. In the colder months, tourists and residents can choose to ski, snowboard or luge; in the summer months people can go biking in the trails or go waterskiing at the Predator Bay Water Skiing club. Golfers can also get their green in Calgary. The city is also home to centers of arts and culture like the Olympic Plaza in the Arts District, the Calgary Public Library and the Alberta Ballet Center.

8. Helsinki, Finland

Last year Helsinki was chosen as the World Design Capital owing to its metropolitan and architectural design, but strangely enough this sprawling city has very few cars, so few the ratio has been estimated at only 390 per every 1,000 residents. The result? Very low pollution and a healthy walking lifestyle. People living in this city have a life expectancy of just under 80 years old, one of the highest in Europe. They also have one of the lowest infant morality rates. The city has around 200 different newspapers, over 300 hobby magazines, over 2,000 professional magazines and over 60 radio stations. It also has the National Museum of Finland, the Finnish National Theatre and hosts the annual Helsinki Festival.

7. Auckland, New Zealand

Men and women in this city can expect to live up to 80 years old. There’s a great healthcare plan, lots of healthy things to do, and sunshine, lots of sunshine. A third more sunshine than those living in London can come to expect every year. Watersports are common in the city, particularly sailing. An estimated one in every three Aucklanders own a boat. As much as hundreds of yachts or sailboats can converge on Viaduct Basin at any given time, giving the city the name the City of Sails. The city also has the Auckland Art Gallery and hosts the biennial Auckland Festival which showcases local and international music, dance, arts and theater.

6. Minneapolis-St Paul, U.S.A.

The people of this city in Minnesota love wide open spaces, and it shows. According to a study the city spends double the usual spending for parks and now they have parks for everything; parks for biking, parks for walking, ball parks and parks for dogs. They have a lot of golf courses for the adults and many playgrounds for the kids. This appreciation of the outside has also led to the extensive use of bicycles among the population, making it one of the countries in the U.S. with the lowest pollution. It also has the highest overall rate of physical activity in a U.S. city. The city has a lot of farmer’s markets where residents can get unprocessed and fresh produce. The result is the lowest overall incidences of heart disease and diabetes compared to other U.S. cities.

5. Sydney, Australia

Blessed with abundant parkland and all-year-round good weather, the Sydney government has done well in building many parks and trails where people can go out to exercise or just enjoy the fresh air. So much so that enjoying the outdoors is a proud part of Sydney culture. There are also many fitness gyms and sports facilities, holdovers from the city’s hosting the 2000 Summer Olympics, to make sure the populations stays fit and healthy. Sydney also ranks high in education with learning not being limited to school and universities but a number of museums including several designed for children. Despite being a developed city, pollution in Sydney is also among the world’s lowest, thanks to their focus on the use of bicycles and constant planting and maintenance of trees.

4. Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm is home to more than a hundred museums, one of the highest concentrations in the world, making it a great place for appreciating culture and the arts. These museums include the Fotografiska, one of the world’s largest meeting places for contemporary photography; the Skansen Open-Air Museum and the Gamla stan – not just a museum but one of the oldest and largest medieval city centers in the continent. Stockholm is not all about the mental. The city residents love to walk and prefer legging it over motorized transportation any day. Never mind if the location is a mile away, or if it’s snowing, or if there’s a frozen lake between them and the destination, they will try to walk it during winter and bike over to it during summer. The result is a population that is healthy and used to physical activity and an environment that is free from pollution. The fact that they have a six-mile urban park within the city does not hurt their air quality either. In 2010 the city was awarded the European Green Capital Award by the EU Commission.

3. Copenhagen, Denmark

Just like the residents of Helsinki and Stockholm, Copenhageners love to walk. Foot traffic accounts for 80 percent of all traffic in the Copenhagen city center. Those who prefer can also bike. It is estimated more than a third of all work trips in Copenhagen are carried out on a bike. The biking is not just for the locals, tourists are encouraged to join with “free token bikes” and there are more than 300km of designated bike lanes all over the city. The city does not have the blessing of temperate weather all year round. As soon as everything starts to freeze it turns several city squares into huge skating fields. The frozen parts of the city also make it easier for residents to skate around. The city also has museums and art galleries for the kids and grown-ups. It has the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art and the Royal Library housed in a rather imposing building called the Black Diamond.

2. Tokyo, Japan

Getting to anywhere from anywhere in Tokyo, travel time is an hour at average, compared to the average four hours in other megacities around the world. This is because the city has one of the best transport systems in the world, also a system with one of the lowest gas emissions. Despite what has been said about Tokyo there are a lot of open green spaces still available where the young and old can stretch and exercise. The clean and tidy surroundings are also a plus. Family ties are also strong among the Japanese, which means even as an adult sons or daughters living alone are still often in contact with parents and relatives. This assures a big family unit that is ready to take care of their own when the need arises. To some extent these ties extend to the local community where they live. Despite their serious nature, Japanese also have an excellent sense of humor as shown in their manga (comics), anime (cartoons) and even their TV gameshows. Japanese life expectancy remains the highest in the world at 85.9 years for women and 79.4 years for men.

1. Hong Kong

With land in Hong Kong at a premium, Hong Kongers don’t have much space to go around in the city, but the island itself is surrounded by mountains, the ocean and other islands that make good locations for recreational activities. Their proximity to the ocean also assures they get fresh seafood daily as well as produce fresh off ships. Used to living in close quarters, Hong Kongers often socialize with family and their neighbors, close bonds in the community are not uncommon even in this profit-driven metropolis. The city also has a high number of registered doctors, close to 13,000 at the end of 2011. Many of them practice Traditional Chinese Medicine which not just focuses on the ailment but takes on a holistic approach and tackles what practice is causing the illness and how it can be prevented or avoided. Aside from advocating traditional medicine, many of these doctors also push the benefits of Tai-Chi and one can see young and old practicing the graceful, fluid moves of this ancient exercise in public squares in the city. Life expectancy there is also one of the highest in the world at 82.5 years.

Top 10 Healthiest Countries In The World

Using a recent study published by The Lancet, we have come up with a definitive list of the 10 healthiest countries in the world. The study was produced using the UN’s sustainable development goals as guidelines. More than 1,870 researchers in 124 countries compiled data on 33 different indicators of progress towards the UN goals related to health, including levels of poverty, clean water, education, societal inequality, and industry innovation, reported Bloomberg.

If a healthy lifestyle is your top priority when looking for somewhere to relocate, you came to the right place. Here’s our top 10 list of the healthiest countries for to live, retire, or spend time in (And no, the United States isn’t here. They barely made it to the 28th spot):

Australia

Scoring higher past years, but nevertheless opening the list, comes Australia. It lagged behind the other nine contenders by lower scores for obesity, alcohol, suicide, smoking and natural disaster casualties.

Even so, the easy access to health-care, anti-retroviral therapy campaigns, and perfect improvements (100/100) over childhood malnutrition, led to better results.

Also to be noticed: Australia’s waste disposal systems, malaria treatments, widespread use of insecticide-treated nets, overall water access, superb sanitation standards, and low air pollution all received perfect scores on the survey.

Australia makes for a compelling destination for anyone with health-concerns.

Canada

No surprises here. With an almost full publicly funded health care system, Canada offers its citizens virtually no expense for international standard health care. If you are still not sure if public health care is better than private services, just know that a 2009 poll by Nanos Research found 86.2% of Canadians supporting or strongly supporting the public solution to health care.

With higher than ever life expectancy (81.3) and an ever evolving health system, Canada is poised for even higher results in the future. It was brought down only because of its terrible scores on obesity (34/100) and warm results for HIV combat, suicide, and alcohol problems.

Netherlands

Residents of the Netherlands are automatically covered under four statutory and mandatory forms of insurance. Like most of developed Europe, health care is publicly administered at world-class levels. Amsterdam, Holland’s capital city, is regarded as one of the healthiest and happiest cities in the world.

Living here, you can enjoy both basic and long term health care services, everyday support services, like household cleaning and cooking, and services for children under the age of 18, all included, just for being a resident.

Spain

Low cost of living, low cost of real estate, and a full supported public health system. What else could you ask for?

Spain has the highest life expectancy among Europe (82.5) and is seventh in number of available doctors among members of the EU, with 3.8 per thousand people. The country has one of the lowest expense rates for health care when compared to its other European neighbors. Nearly half the population consider Spain to have the best health care of the entire European Union.

Spain did receive some downgrades for high level of smoking (47/100) and actually obesity (33/100).

Finland

Health care in Finland is highly decentralized, with a three-tier, publicly funded health care system, as well as a much smaller private sector. Prevention of diseases has been the primary concern of the Finnish government, leading to eradication of many diseases and an overall improvement of population’s health.

Even though the health care system isn’t completely free, prices are aided by public tax funding, making it very accessible, and supporting further research and development for new technology to aid in the treatment of its residents.

The Finns are the inventors of the iconic “baby box” which has led them to have the lowest neonatal death ratio ever. Given to every expectant mother, these boxes carry numerous items that are essential for the baby’s development in its first months.

Although alcohol consumption is high among the Finnish, they remain a happy and healthy bunch.

United Kingdom

Some may not believe it, but the United Kingdom did pretty darn well for health indicators between the countries surveyed.

Thanks to strong efforts in leading the development of a cure for HIV, called CHERUB, and implementing an AMR (anti-microbial resistance) strategy to prevent and counter bloodstream infections and raise life expectancy, public health is increasing rapidly among the Brits and surround territories.

The U.K. is also home to a high-standard public health care system, matching most of their European counterparts, including free ambulance service and air transport. People in England and Scotland have access to free medical telephone advisory, as well.

Smoking and drinking are some of main vices for people of the U.K., however whether they’ll admit it or not, the people are quite happy.

Andorra

The high altitudes of Andorra create a great environment to live, while helping to reduce symptoms for respiratory and rheumatic problems. Fresh air is aplenty as there is no heavy industry operating in Andorra and extensive pollution.

Andorra has some of the most technologically advanced hospitals in Europe, and is similar to the French health care system. Believe it or not, a report from the Ministry of Health found life expectancy in Andorra to be 98.7 years. Talk about living a long and healthy life!

Sweden

Sweden is making strides as one of the best places in the world to live. World economists often use the current proportion of care workers in Sweden as a benchmark because of how good the quality of health and social services are. Life expectancy is up to 84 years.

The Swedes eating habits are also a benchmark around the world. Researchers at the Nordic Centre of Excellence found that several Nordic ingredients are responsible for improving health, lowering cholesterol, and reducing the risk of heart disease. Some well-known superfoods are staples of the Swedish diet, like blueberries, oats, and yogurt.

According to the Euro Health Consumer Index, the Swedish score for technically excellent healthcare services, which they rated 10th in Europe in 2015.

According to a 2011 article in The New York Times, “Numerous studies have shown that places like Denmark and Sweden that consistently score high on measures of happiness and life satisfaction also have relatively high suicide rates.” The article also reported, “Some social scientists speculate that the trends are probably unrelated and can be explained by regional factors like dark winters or cultural differences regarding suicide.”

Singapore

Singapore comes in near the top of our list and for a couple of solid reasons:

Bloomberg ranked Singapore’s health care system the most efficient in the world in 2014. The country has added efforts in eradicating dengue with the world’s first dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia. Every year, Singapore receives almost perfect scores in health care surveys.

Singaporeans eating habits are yet another thing of envy. An incredibly diverse diet, drawing from the best of the Chinese, Malaysian, and Indian cuisine, paired with increasing campaigns for proper diet awareness (food products with the developed Healthier Choice symbol are growing at 9% annually), they have made leaps and bounds in the eradication of diet related diseases.

Singapore’s laws regarding security might be debatable, but they have proved to transform a country led by chaos into one of the most organized, clean, and secure in the world.

Even public faces like Jet Li and Eduardo Saverin (co-creator of Facebook) have become Singaporean citizens due to the high quality of life (and beneficial tax laws).

The reason it was dethroned of first place this year? Almost below-par results for pollution levels and water sanitation, and lagged behind for HIV, and tuberculosis levels.

Iceland

Taking the number one spot… Iceland.

Iceland tops our list of healthiest countries in the world, if by an everso slight margin, beating out both Singapore and Sweden. With an extremely long life expectancy and low rates of infant mortality and pollution levels, as well as tobacco control policies and a publically funded health system, Iceland is consistently regarded as a model for health and happiness.

Icelanders maintain excellent nutrition, keeping things simple by eating lots of fresh, pure dishes made up largely of lean lamb and seafood (including super healthy and omega 3-rich haddock, cod and herring). Most local produce uses minimal pesticides. To best the cold winters, Icelanders find comfort in the hotsprings and exercise regularly.

Iceland’s community is strong and tight, in part because of the country’s tiny population of 300,000. Men and women have some of the most equitable relations in the world, inspired mainly by their former head of state, the world’s first female president.

Latest News: The Lemonade Detox Diet

The lemonade detox diet is one of the worst fad diets ever concocted, which is really saying something when you consider the competition.

You only need to look at the title to see that this is a very misguided diet. The idea that you can fast using any kind of juice drink as a substitute for food is a dangerously incorrect one, while the whole concept of ‘detoxing’ is backed by precisely zero scientific evidence or even theory.

And if you dig deeper and learn what’s actually recommended by this absurd diet, then things only get worse…

The Instructions

Like many of the very worst diets out there, the ‘Lemon Detox Diet’ is a fasting diet. You aren’t allowed to eat any regular food but instead must survive purely on a single weird lemon concoction. That concoction is called ‘The Master Cleanse Organic Lemonade Mixture’ by some. Because why wouldn’t it be? Organic is just one more buzz word that tells people ‘this must be good!’.

The recipe for this drink, that is going to become 100% of your diet, is as follows:

• 2 TBSP of organic fresh squeezed lemon or lime

• 2 TBSP of organic maple syrup (because honey would be too nutritious??)

• 1/10 TSP of organic cayenne pepper

• 10 oz medium hot water

One can only assume that the cayenne pepper is in there to ‘speed up the metabolism’. As is the lemon no doubt. Of course this misses the fact that on so few calories your metabolism is going to be in the gutter and a tiny bit of pepper isn’t going to make a difference. Why isn’t there more pepper? Because that would be disgusting in a lemon drink. More disgusting that is.

Hot water also no doubt ‘forces your body to cool itself down’ (because no one ever thought of drinking a warm beverage before!). And as for the inclusion of syrup versus honey? That’s probably down to the creators spending only approximately two seconds in coming up with this nonsense.

And as though this wasn’t ridiculous enough already, you’re only allowed ten glasses of this stuff a day. It’s not likely that you’ll be gagging for more but seriously… How many calories will that gain you in a day? 600 to be precise.

But wait, the horror is still not over! Not only are you supposed to live off this awful creation and nothing else, you’re also required to start your day with a ‘salt water cleanse’ (presumably because salt is antibacterial? I’m starting to run out of guesses…) which is warm again (to make you vomit??) and then you end the day with laxatives. Not that you’d need laxatives, seeing as the salt and the lack of food mean you’re going to be peeing out your butt all day anyway.

Does It Work?

There’s no denying that you will lose weight on this regime initially. In fact, you’ll also lose skin color too. And probably hair. And the will to live. If the look you’re going for is ‘emaciated mess’ then sure, go for it!

Thing is though, you won’t even lose as much weight as you probably expect to ironically. Salt increases water retention, so far from encouraging your ‘purge’ this regime can actually lead to a little puffiness. What’s more, as with all fad diets, the weight you do lose is going to pile straight back on as soon as you begin eating normally.

Of course you could remain on this diet… It would kill you sure, but you’d lose weight!

This diet will help you to lose weight in the precise same way that getting a serious stomach infection helps you to lose weight. And if you’re the sort of person who would entertain the latter as a genuine weight loss method, then you need help. No seriously.

The Problems

I’ve already gone over several problems with this diet but in case I haven’t been explicit enough…

This diet is incredibly unpleasant meaning you’re unlikely to stick to it. You’ll be hungry all day and dreading your next lemonade master nonsense/salt detox/herbal laxative. You won’t be getting anywhere near enough protein or fat (yes you do need fat) and the same goes for most of the nutrients. You’ll lose weight, but it will all pile right back on immediately after. You’ll retain water and likely go puffy. You’ll be constantly low on energy and miserable. You’ll be eating only simple sugar which is about the most damaging part of our modern diets. Detoxing is a myth.

If you’re looking for a diet that is quick and effective, then please do yourself a favor and consider literally any other diet.