World’s healthiest countries (NZ ranked 18th)

The Bloomberg Global Health Index grades and ranks the health of countries around the world – These Are the World’s Healthiest Nations

Spain tops the chart, followed by Italy, Iceland, Japan and Switzerland.

Australia is 7th, New Zealand 18th and USA is 35th.

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.

“Primary care is essentially provided by public providers, specialized family doctors and staff nurses, who provide preventive services to children, women and elderly patients, and acute and chronic care,” according to the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies 2018 review of Spain, noting a decline the past decade in cardiovascular diseases and deaths from cancer.

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.

Life expectancy in the U.S. has been trending lower due to deaths from drug overdoses and suicides.

Sub-Saharan economies accounted for 27 of the 30 unhealthiest nations in the ranking. Haiti, Afghanistan and Yemen were the others. Mauritius was the healthiest in Sub-Sahara, placing 74th globally as it had the lowest death rate by communicable diseases in a region still marred by infectious mortality.

We know that our diets are important for improving our chances in the health lottery.

Instead of moving to Spain or Italy we could move more of Mediterranean style diet. I have done this to an extent over the years, and have substantially reduced how much I eat of meats and potatoes – as a child I never had savoury rice nor proper pasta, now I have them as much as potatoes. And the mutton fat of my childhood is distant history, now olive and canola oil are staples.

I don’t do supplements, which get heavily promoted these days. I think that food is best in it’s natural state rather than concocted and concentrated, and manufactured diet additions via pills are only good for exception situations, not standard diet.