Spain Is Now the World’s Healthiest Country

24 Feb | 3 min read

Maybe it’s something in the gazpacho or paella, as Spain just surpassed Italy to become the world’s healthiest country.

That’s according to the 2019 edition of the Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index, which ranks 169 economies according to factors that contribute to overall health. Spain placed sixth in the previous gauge, published in 2017.

The index grades nations based on variables including life expectancy while imposing penalties on risks such as tobacco use and obesity. It also takes into consideration environmental factors including access to clean water and sanitation.

Spain has the highest life expectancy at birth among European Union nations, and trails only Japan and Switzerland globally, United Nations data show. Spain by 2040 is forecast to have the highest lifespan, at almost 86 years, followed by Japan, Singapore and Switzerland, according to the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

Eating Habits

Researchers say eating habits may provide clues to health levels enjoyed by Spain and Italy, as a “Mediterranean diet, supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts, had a lower rate of major cardiovascular events than those assigned to a reduced-fat diet,” according to a study led by the University of Navarra Medical School.

Methodology

Bloomberg evaluated health variables and risks ranging from those of behavioral nature to environmental characteristics. Final index only included nations with at least 0.3 million population and sufficient data. 169 WHO states met the criteria to be included.

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