Where should you go to keep in shape and prolong your life with a healthy lifestyle? Even if the health bug hasn’t bitten you, you may want to move somewhere that will encourage you to maintain a healthy lifestyle. We look at the top five healthiest countries according to Bloomberg’s 2017 Index.
Although there is no doubt that fast food outlets are present in Italy, the predisposition to a Mediterranean diet has leant Italy its reputation as a healthy country — it comes out in the first place as the healthiest country in the world. When it comes to ‘health risks’, it fares well, though it certainly doesn’t have the lowest level of behavioural and environmentally induced illnesses or the highest life expectancy. Nonetheless, low levels of mortality by disease (compared to other countries) and a good life expectancy both at birth and in later life see it take the top spot.
Iceland’s environment is a purveyor its inherent healthiness, with the natural Blue Lagoon hot springs proving to be a popular tourist attraction and a lack of pollution that is responsible for a multitude of health complications in other countries. However, there are many other factors that also amount to its second place. With long dark winters, exercise is encouraged in the country to help combat seasonal affective disorder resulting from the lack of sunlight. Add in a seafood-based diet supplemented with mainly local produce, as well as a stress-free environment, and it’s clear that the Icelandic lifestyle is indeed a healthy one.
Switzerland comes third, despite being known as the home of some of the world’s best quality chocolate. Clearly, the local population isn’t over indulging, and even dark chocolate has some beneficial health properties. When it comes to healthcare, Switzerland has one of the best systems combined with a high-income population that can afford a more varied diet and more expensive treatments. There is also quite an active culture, with cycling and walking around cities being popular and several internationally renowned ski resorts located in the country. As with Iceland, the natural environment also helps encourage a healthy outdoor lifestyle.
In spite of being a densely populated urban area, the island state of Singapore comes in fourth with one of the lowest ‘health risk penalties’ afforded to any country in the top twenty-five. It may not immediately spring to mind as a healthy destination, but a highly effective private healthcare system may play a large part in keeping its population in good shape. Although it is a different system, it shares in common with Switzerland that it’s comprised of low government spending that produces impressive results when it comes to the level of health amongst its population. Also, its strong anti-smoking legislation prohibits people from lighting up in almost all public spaces
Another country with an environment that leaves you wondering why you would want to spend time indoors is Australia. When the outdoors is so inviting (if somewhat bug and snake-ridden), its tough not to find an activity that keeps your heart rate up. While the damage inflicted by too much sun is well-documented, a year around injection of Vitamin D and a laid-back lifestyle without the mental health problems that can come along with duller climes certainly aids in a longer lifespan.