Ireland has been named as one of the healthiest nations in the world in the 2019 edition of the Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index.
The index ranks 169 economies using various factors that contribute to overall health. Some of the factors include life expectancy, health care, access to clean water and sanitation, tobacco use and obesity.
Countries are given points for the positive aspects of their health such as healthy diets and penalised for negative traits like not imposing a high tax rate on products such as cigarettes.
Ireland rose two places from 22nd in 2017 to number 20 in 2019. While Ireland’s improvement helped push us into the top 20, we were overtaken by our neighbours across the Irish Sea.
The UK were one place behind Ireland in 2017, at number 23, but jumped four places to number 19.
Spain rose five places from two years ago to take the title of heathiest nation in the world. It is predicted that by 2040, Spaniards will have the longest lifespan, at almost 86 years, followed by Japan, Singapore and Switzerland.
Researchers say that the Mediterranean diet enjoyed by people in Spain and Italy have contributed to their high placings on the index.
The University of Navarra Medical School say that a diet based around extra-virgin olive oil or nuts, rather than a reduced fat diet, has a lower rate of major cardiovascular events.
Canada is the highest ranked country in North America at number 16. The USA fell one place to number 35 after life expectancy has fallen due to an increase in deaths from drug overdoses, suicides, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia .
Cuba’s emphasis on preventative care, as opposed to diagnosis and treatment, helped it reach number 30 in the overall list – the highest placed country that is not classified as ‘high income’ by the World Bank.
Top 20 health nations, according to Bloomberg
- 1 – Spain
- 2 – Italy
- 3 – Iceland
- 4 – Japan
- 5 – Switzerland
- 6 – Sweden
- 7 – Australia
- 8 – Singapore
- 9 – Norway
- 10 – Israel
- 11 – Luxembourg
- 12 – France
- 13 – Austria
- 14 – Finland
- 15 – Netherlands
- 16 – Canada
- 17 – South Korea
- 18 – New Zealand
- 19 – UK
- 20 – Ireland
For more information visit Click Bloomberg 2019 Healthiest Country Index.