It’s official! Spain has been named the world’s healthiest country, beating the likes of Italy and Iceland to claim the top spot.
Analysing data from the World Health Organisation, United Nations Population Division and the World Bank, researchers carried out a study for the Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index to determine the overall health of 169 nations across the globe.
Taking into consideration lifestyle factors such as tobacco use and obesity, and environmental factors such as sanitation and access to clean water, each country was assessed with an overall health grade. Spain was awarded the title of the healthiest country in the world, with a health grade of 92.75.
Of all countries in the European Union Spain has the highest life expectancy and, according to United Nations statistics, ranks behind only Japan and Switzerland on a global scale.
Italy and Iceland took the second and third place rankings in the Healthiest Countries Index with health grades of 91.59 and 91.44 respectively. The UK scraped into the top twenty placing 19th on the list with a health grade of 84.28 and Ireland took the 20th place.
It has long been known that following a Mediterranean diet which contains foods such as olive oil and fresh fish can have numerous health benefits including longer life expectancy and, according to research from University College London, can also help prevent the development of depression.
Alongside its Mediterranean diet Spain has the best healthcare system in Europe and the lowest fatality rates from treatable conditions, all of which helped the country leap five places to beat the last winners Italy into first place.
Of the other nations in the study, Switzerland came in fifth, meaning four out of the top five were European. Japan took the honour of healthiest Asian nation, moving up three places to take the fourth in the Index. Australia took the seventh place, Canada came in 16th, the US placed 35th and China came in 52nd.
By 2040 Spain is expected to have the highest life expectancy worldwide with a predicted average lifespan of 85.8 years according to research from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Japan is predicted to drop to second place in 2040, trailing Spain with an estimated average lifespan of 85.7 years.