Latest Rating Shows the World’s Most & Least Healthy Countries – Guess Where the U.S. Ranked

Written by on March 23, 2017 in Health with 0 Comments

By Katherine Martinko | Treehugger

Despite a stagnant economy and high youth unemployment, Italians are the epitome of health and longevity.

Italians are the world’s healthiest people, according to the latest Global Health Index by Bloomberg. A child born today in Italy, raised on a diet that includes plenty of pasta, bread, cheese, meat, and wine, can expect to live into its octogenarian years.

This is intriguing because Italy’s economy has been stagnant for decades. The unemployment rate reached 12 percent in December 2016, and an estimated 40 percent of young people do not have jobs. Bloomberg writes that Italy has one of the highest debt loads in the world relative to the size of its economy. So, while Italians have a lot on their plate to stress them out, it does not appear to be affecting health or longevity.

The Global Health Index looked at 163 countries. It calculated a ‘health score’, based on likeliness of mortality by disease or injury, life expectancy at various ages, and probability of survival at key times. From this score is subtracted ‘health risk penalties,’ which measure damaging behavioral factors (i.e. smoking, obesity, and childhood malnutrition) and environmental factors (i.e. pollution and lack of clean drinking water). The final result is a ‘health grade.’

The top five countries and their health grades are:

1. Italy, 93.11
2. Iceland, 91.21
3. Switzerland, 90.75
4. Singapore, 90.23
5. Australia, 89.24

The lowest in the top 50 are:

46. Slovakia, 65.10
47. Barbados, 64.14
48. Oman, 62.89
49. Panama, 62.39
50. Albania, 62.01

The United States, by contrast, is only #34 on the list, with a health score of 73.05. Bloomberg says, “Its ranking for prevalence of overweight people is 67.3 – tipping the scale as one of the world’s heaviest nations.” To make matters worse, the maternal mortality rate is actually rising in the U.S. while dropping in the rest of the world.


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