Krakow, Poland – Whether it’s an unhealthy food diet, worsening environmental factors, limited access to health services, or a combination of all that and more, Central Europe lags behind in an international study ranking the world’s healthiest countries.
The Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index ranks 169 countries in the world, taking into account a wide range of factors that contribute to overall health. Nations are ranked according to certain variables, including life expectancy, environmental factors like sanitation and access to clean water, and receive penalties on health risks like obesity and use of tobacco.
This year, Spain was crowned the world’s healthiest country, jumping five places compared to the previous 2017 edition and surpassing Italy, winner of the previous ranking. “Spain has the highest life expectancy at birth among European Union nations, and trails only Japan and Switzerland globally”, Bloomberg points out, adding that the country “is forecast to have the highest lifespan, at almost 86 years” by 2040.
After Spain, the other healthiest countries in the world are Italy, Iceland, Japan, Switzerland, Sweden, Australia, Singapore, Norway and Israel, according to the Bloomberg ranking.
The index highlights the benefits of eating habits in Europe’s south, including the famous “Mediterranean diet, supplemented with extra-virgin oil or nuts”.
Among the top 20 healthiest countries in the world, 13 of them are located in Europe, 3 in Asia, two in Oceania and one in the Middle-East and North-America.
None of the Central European countries fare particularly well in this year’s Bloomberg World Healthiest Country Index: although the Czech Republic ranks at a reasonable 29th place worldwide (gaining one spot compared to the 2017 index), it lags far behind most other European countries and ranks 22nd on the continent.
Other Visegrad Group countries are even further behind: Poland is 40th (-1) and Slovakia is 45th (+1). As the 48th healthiest country in the world, Hungary jumps four places compared to two years ago but remains one of the unhealthiest countries in the EU.
At the other end of the scope, the 30 unhealthiest nations in the world include 27 Sub-Saharan countries plus Haiti, Afghanistan and Yemen.