10 Healthiest Countries In The World

singapore

In 2014, The Netherlands was named by Oxfam America as the healthiest country through the Good Enough to Eat Index, which the organization developed to collect a global snapshot of 125 countries showing the best and worst places to eat. What do these countries have in common that make them the healthiest.  With the country’s comparatively low food prices, better nutritional diversity, and low incidence of diabetes, they easily led the ranking with Switzerland and France tying for the second place; followed by Denmark, Sweden, Belgium and Austria tying for the third place.

In 2015 however, the World Health Organization, the World Bank and the United Nations have named Singapore as the healthiest country using the Bloomberg Ranking. The following countries made to top 10 in the previous year:

1. Singapore
2. Italy
3. Australia
4. Switzerland
5. Japan
6. Israel
7. Spain
8. Netherlands
9. Sweden
10. Germany

The Bloomberg Businessweek has developed health scores and health-risk scores to “identify the healthiest countries in the world. We subtracted the risk score from the health score to determine the country’s rank. Five year averages, when available, were used to mitigate some of the short-term year-over-year swings.”

Determinants for scoring health factors as defined in the methodology:

  • Life expectancy at birth and infant mortality – took up 10% of the score

  • Causes of death: Communicative and non-communicative diseases, excluding war-related injuries – took up 40% of the score

  • Death rates by three age groups: less than 14, 15-64 and 65 and up – took up 40% of the score

  • Survival to 65 and life expectancy at 65, both gender-ratio weighted – took up 10% of the score

Determinants for scoring risk-score factors as defined in the methodology:

  • % of population for ages 15 and above who smoke any form of tobacco, including cigarettes, cigars and pipes, and excluding smokeless tobacco

  • Total (reported and estimated) adult (15+ years) per-capita consumption of alcohol

  • % of population ages 20 and above who are overweight with BMI higher than 25, and/or obese with BMI higher than 30

  • % of population that are physically sedentary (less than 30 minutes of moderate activity five times per week, or 20 minutes of vigorous activity three times per week)

  • % of population with raised total cholesterol (higher than 6.2 millimoles per liter)

  • % of population with high blood pressure (systolic blood pressure higher than 140 or diastolic blood pressure higher 90)

  • % of population with raised fasting blood glucose (higher than 7.0 mmol/L) or on medication for high glucose

  • % of population ages 15-49 that are infected with HIV

  • Composite ranking of outdoor and indoor pollution, water safety and access to sanitation

  • Composite ranking of immunized coverage for DTP, measles, hepatitis B, meningitis, tuberculosis & polio among 1-year-olds 

  • % of underweight children aged below 5 years old

  • Lifetime risk of maternal death (the probability that a 15-year-old female will die eventually from a maternal cause)

Using the guidelines created by World Bank, countries were divided into 3 income clusters with particular health risks. Countries with $12,276 gross national income per person, overweight/obesity, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and smoking overweighed. Countries with gross incomes between $1,006 to $12,275, alcohol consumption, smoking, high blood pressure and environmental factors were aslo overweighed. The same thing with countries whose citizens earn below $1,005. They were overweighed in HIV incidence, childhood underweight, environmental factors, and maternal health. Modifications were made for countries that scored worst in a risk factor that was outside of their income-group specific risks.

But, what is the significance in ranking countries in this capacity?

According to the World Economic Forum, “The data is a useful guide for policy makers, who might look at the practices of higher-scoring countries to improve their own countries’ health scores.” At the same time, the study has showed a rise in global consumption of healthy food, like fruit and vegetables. In 2014, when Oxfam did their own global ranking, the Good Enough to Eat Index asked 4 core questions:

  1. Do people have enough to eat? This measured the levels of underweight and undernourishment among children.

  2. Can people afford to eat? This measured the food price levels as compared to other goods and services and food price volatility.

  3. Is food of good quality? This measured the diversity of diet and access to clean and safe water.

  4. What is the extent of unhealthy outcomes of people’s diet? This measured the incidence of diabetes and obesity rate.

Being a wealthy country doesn’t translate to being a healthy country. While people may have access to food, the quality of the food food and the eating habit of every individual determines their health status. With the annual global ranking of healthy countries, it is expected that those who are at the bottom ranking will take measures to improve their country’s overall health status. If you need lanyards for your trip to one of these healthy countries.