An article written by The Italian Tribune displayed some recent data from Bloomberg Rankings, showing the top healthiest countries and the least healthiest countries in the world. Each country is given a health score and a health risk score.
Singapore was named the number one healthiest country in the world (yes we were surprised too). Coming in at a close second was Italy, followed by Australia, Switzerland, Japan, Israel and Spain. While Swaziland, Lesotho, Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad and Mozambique were rated the top 5 least healthiest countries in the world, respectively.
We were interested to know how these rankings were assigned. The health score given to each country was based on mortality rates, smoking rates, immunization rates, the number of people with access to healthcare, healthcare efficiency and satisfaction and life expectancy. These are all very important factors, but it would interesting to see the worlds healthiest countries ranked in terms of just diet and lifestyle, instead of quality of healthcare. Would Australia still come in third place? Probably not. Japan might slide up a few spots though, given that it has one of the lowest rates of obesity (3.3%) compared to Australia (20%) and the U.S (35%).
It’s important to note that good quality healthcare is not the number one predictor of health. Many countries with excellent health care (like Australia and the US) are actually staggering under huge numbers of unhealthy individuals. We are overweight, obese; we have diabetes, cancer, mental illnesses.
There are many reasons why a country might have a fantastic health care system, one being that they are most likely a developed country. Usually you see an increase in health in a population as healthcare infrastructure increases. Unfortunately this doesn’t always correlate. Australia has an amazing public health care system, as does Canada, and the UK comparative to many other countries.
Sadly despite the comparatively good health care systems in the States, the UK, and Australia, this infrastructure often is bulging under the pressure to treat the millions of people everyday who are burdened with chronic diseases. Ironically many in first are a product of the first world and modernisation or “westernisation”, and arguably could be prevented with lifestyle changes or a return to more traditional ways (specifically eating less processed foods, cooking meals, and eating as a family, being part of a community, less stressful lives).
In underdeveloped countries the illness and disease profiles look quite different, and it is surprising that with improvements and infrastructure that more developed countries aren’t performing better than this in their countries “health scores”.
So the question is whether we should be looking at the quality of treatment that a country gives to its citizens as a marker of the health of the country or the effectiveness in preventive health care and health promotion infrastructure available to the general public of said country (e.g. diet, exercise and lifestyle factors, social support mechanisms and other support services and infrastructure and policy) to enable its citizen’s to better take care of themselves and each other. What do you think?
We did love some of the notes on how the Italians do life, and we do love and promote the benefits of enjoying a Mediterranean diet… viva Italy! In our minds, it’s not just the great health care infrastructure that lifts their health markers… it’s the lifestyle factors, that are so often underestimated like: culture, social support, community and of course great eating practices that also play a key role.
Read the article by The Italian Tribune here: http://www.italiantribune.com/italy-second-healthiest-country-in-the-world/