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):
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.