Healthiest Countries in the World in 2023
Searching for a place where health thrives? The healthiest nations are often those with developed economies, lower pollution levels, and access to high-quality healthcare and clean water.
The Bloomberg Global Health Index ranks 169 of the world’s healthiest and unhealthiest countries based on a range of factors. Each nation is rated out of a maximum score of 100 using a variety of parameters.
In this article, we look at the list of the healthiest countries in the world to see which one is leading the pack and, what they are doing well.
The 10 Healthiest Countries in the World
The effective Israeli healthcare system is the most significant factor influencing longevity in Israel. While moderate alcohol usage contributes to their long life, the Mediterranean diet is also an important element. Also, Israel's strong family structure contributes significantly to the country's generally higher life expectancy because it makes it easier for people to get support and assistance if they're in need.
The active Norwegian lifestyle, a diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, and a strong, publicly supported healthcare system all contribute to Norway's outstanding healthy lifestyle. Norway has excellent education, a low unemployment rate, and universal health care, which is paid for mostly through general taxes and payroll contributions shared. Primary, ambulatory, mental health, and hospital care are all covered, as are many outpatient prescription medicines.
With a life expectancy of more than 82 years and one of the most effective healthcare systems in the world, Singapore is one of the healthiest nations in Asia. Singaporeans are becoming more active in leading healthy lifestyles and taking greater responsibility for their health. Investments in cheap, high-quality healthcare and the dedication of healthcare professionals have resulted in tremendous advances in the lives of the residents.
Australians enjoy the benefits of financial stability, which is boosted by their healthy diets and laid-back attitudes. This is supported by the Australian government which has implemented policies to guarantee that its residents enjoy a healthy life. These policies identify areas of the healthcare system that require improvement and look past the current pandemic to provide a framework for a strong, long-lasting healthcare system with high-quality, patient-centered care at its core. Also, tobacco control is very effective in the country.
There are many factors contributing to Swedes' exceptional health, but the Scandinavian diet may be one of the most important. People eat a lot of vegetables, rye bread, and fatty fish, all of which have significant health advantages. Also, Sweden has a world-class healthcare system to which all citizens have access, and work-life balance can be traced in businesses. Swedish people enjoy daily walks, and almost half of the population cycle to and from work.
The Swiss have a long and prosperous life that is not primarily attributed to nutrition. In actuality, their primary cultural foods—sausage, chocolate, cheese, and bread—are not particularly healthful. However, the Swiss stay healthy by staying active. The mountains serve as a playground for the residents. Also, they value their friendships and are known for their good relations with the members of their community which helps their mental health.
The traditional cuisine of Japan, which mainly consists of rice, fish, vegetables, seaweed, Japanese pickles, and green tea is an obvious factor contributing to the country's high life expectancy rate. The islands off Japan's southern coast have a lengthy history of longevity. Okinawans have low rates of cancer, heart disease, and dementia and the women outlive all other women on the earth. Japanese people also value connections with others and with nature.
Iceland is one of the healthiest countries thanks to its focus on fish and its nutritious dairy products. Iceland has one of the highest life expectancy rates in the world, with men's life expectancy standing at 82. With an average lifespan of 84, women live longer. There are hot springs, rivers, waterfalls, glaciers, and springs all over this country which helps the residents enjoy a quality life. Iceland has also very clean water.
Italy has one of the best cuisines in the world and it’s true that their culture is profoundly rooted in food. The Italian diet is high in fruit, vegetables, lean meat, legumes, fresh fish, and olive oil along with pasta and pizza. The Mediterranean diet isn’t the only reason though. The Italian way of life that focuses on leisure, family, frequent walks, and sunshine is a key factor why Italy is one of the healthiest countries.
Spain is one of the countries that follow the Mediterranean Diet. This diet emphasizes healthy fats and protein. These vitamins are heart-healthy, making Spain one of the countries with the lowest risk of heart disease. The Spanish love the simple joys of life and have a very easygoing lifestyle which helps their mental health too. The Spanish people are also very active. They walk and exercise frequently, which helps to stimulate brain function and improve mental benefits.
Healthiest Countries: The Bottom Line
Exploration of the healthiest countries involves insight into diverse healthcare systems, lifestyles, and practices that contribute to well-being.
We all know the secret to living a longer life is to eat a balanced diet, live in a close-knit community, and have access to an effective healthcare system. But, how can countries manage to integrate all these into the society and the everyday life? That’s where the challenge begins.
For those interested in further reading, the Bloomberg Global Health Index does a great job at identifying the relevant factors and ranking countries across these factors to define the healthiest countries in the world.
When choosing the best place to live in the world or merely visit, both physical and mental healthcare come at the top of the list. If you are assessing your next destination as well, you may want to check out our articles below:
Frequently Asked Questions
Which country has the healthiest food?
The country with the healthiest diet is up for debate. However, Japan is certainly a high contender. Particularly thanks to its Okinawan diet. This diet has contributed to Japan's remarkably low obesity rates and the second-longest life expectancy among developed nations. The Okinawan diet emphasizes the consumption of fish, seafood, tofu, and other nutrient-dense components, while notably minimizing the intake of processed foods.
What country has the unhealthiest diet?
According to some research, Uzbekistan has the unhealthiest diet.
The country has been identified with the highest rate of diet-related deaths worldwide.
Which country is the fittest?
According to a study by World Health Organization (WHO), Finland and Uganda are the fittest countries in the world. People in both countries like sports and make an effort to include movement in their daily lives and tasks.
But, note that being the fittest does not always imply being the healthiest: Uganda does not even rank among the top 50 countries in Bloomberg's healthiest countries index.
Why is Spain one of the healthiest countries in the world?
People in Spain eat a Mediterranean diet high in omega-3, lipids, and protein, which has been associated with a lower incidence of dementia, heart disease, and cancer. This puts Spain among the top five countries in terms of life expectancy.
Which nations enjoy the best mental health?
While Sweden, Germany, and Finland may not have the warmest weather, they have the top mental health rankings in the world.
According to the 2022 'World Happiness Report,' Finland is the happiest country in the world, with the highest amount of green space yet one of the harshest climates, along with Canada and Norway. It scored in the top ten for the lowest amount of employees working long hours and is on par with Sweden in terms of leisure time.
Germany, the wealthiest country in Europe is committed to assisting and eradicating the stigma associated with mental health disorders. Germany is third after France and Norway for government expenditure on mental health services.
Forests and woodlands, followed by nature reserves and parks, account for the majority of green space in Stockholm, Sweden. Furthermore, the Nordic nation has a strong culture of work-life balance, with only 1.1 percent of the population working very long hours and approximately 15 hours per day allocated to leisure and personal care.
All these make these European countries the mentally healthiest countries.
Is America a healthy country?
The United States is one of the world's wealthiest countries, yet it is not the world's healthiest country. Despite substantial improvements in life expectancy and survival rates in the United States over the last century, Americans have a lot of health problems, live shorter lives and suffer more accidents and illnesses than those in other high-income countries.
The United States performs worse in nine health domains:
- Adverse birth outcomes
- Injuries and homicides
- Adolescent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections
- HIV and AIDS
- Drug-related mortality
- Obesity and diabetes
- Heart disease
- Chronic lung disease
Is Italian food considered a healthy food?
Because it typically includes crisp salads, olive oil, fresh fish, and legumes, authentic Italian cuisine can be highly healthful. Of course, it may be made rather unhealthy with creamy sauces, cheeses, and cured meats. Italy is one of the healthiest countries and their food plays an important part in this.