Spain beats Italy and Iceland to be world's healthiest country
12 Mar 2019
Spain has officially been named the healthiest country in the world, beating nations such as Italy and Iceland to clinch the top spot.
Researchers carried out a study for the Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index to determine the overall health of 169 economies across the globe.
They analysed data from the World Health Organisation, United Nations Population Division and the World Bank, considering lifestyle factors such as tobacco use and obesity, and environmental factors such as sanitation and access to clean water.
All of these factors provided each country that was assessed with an overall health grade.
After weighing up the findings, the index confirmed Spain as the healthiest country in the world, with a health grade of 92.75.
According to data collected by the United Nations, Spain has the highest life expectancy among countries in the European Union, falling behind Japan and Switzerland when assessed on a global scale.
In the Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index, Spain was closely followed by Italy in second, with a health grade of 91.59, and Iceland in third, with a health grade of 91.44.
The UK placed 19th on the list, and was awarded a health grade of 84.28.
Previous research has found that following a Mediterranean diet, consisting of foods such as olive oil and fish, can have health benefits, such as reduced risk of mortality in elderly people.
Research conducted by University College London in September 2018 also claimed that people who follow Mediterranean diets may be less likely to develop depression.
Of the other nations assessed for the study, Australia came in seventh, Canada placed 16th, the US came in 35th and China was placed 52nd.
The Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index was last conducted in 2017.
Since that time, Japan, now in fourth place, has moved up the ranking by three places, making it the healthiest Asian nation.
According to a study published by the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in October 2018, Spain is expected to have the highest life expectancy of any country in the world by 2040, with a predicted average lifespan of 85.8 years.
Japan, which had the highest life expectancy in 2016 with an average lifespan of 83.7 years, is predicted to drop to second place in 2040, trailing Spain with an estimated average lifespan of 85.7 years.
Here are the top 20 healthiest countries in the world, according to the Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index: