Singapore is the world’s healthiest country, according to a ranking that uses data from the United Nations, the World Bank and the World Health Organisation.
To identify the healthiest countries in the world, Bloomberg Rankings created health scores and health-risk scores for countries with populations of at least 1 million. It determined the countries’ rank by subtracting the risk score from the health score.
The health score is based on mortality rates in each country, while the health risk score is based on different factors likely to limit health, such as the proportion of young people smoking and the number of immunisations.
Singapore receives an overall grade of 89.45%. Italy is in second place with 89.07%, while Australia comes third with 88.33%.
Asian and European countries dominate the ranking. Israel, in sixth place, is the only Middle Eastern country to make the top 10, while North and Latin American countries do not feature at all.
The data is a useful rule-of-thumb for policy-makers, who might look at the practices of higher-scoring countries to improve their own countries’ health scores.
However, it is worth bearing in mind that the definition of ‘healthy’ is open to interpretation. A ranking that defines a ‘healthy’ lifestyle by its reported quality – rather than its length (life expectancy) – might exclude lower-income countries that report high levels of happiness or life satisfaction.
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Author: Sebastian Brixey-Williams is a Digital Content Producer at Formative Content.
Image: A woman jogs along the Charles River on an early spring evening in Boston, Massachusetts April 3, 2014. REUTERS/Brian Snyder