The healthiest nations in the world

Wednesday 05th December 2018 04:26 EST

The world's healthiest and unhealthiest countries have been revealed in a global league table.

Singapore topped the charts of 149 countries followed by Luxembourg, while the bottom ten consisted solely of African nations.  The UK, US and Australia did not feature in the top ten, according to the research by the Legatum Institute.

Experts have today warned health improvements are starting to 'flat-line' - despite advances in recent decades.

The report, published today, judged countries on their healthcare systems, level of disease, obesity rates and other measures. The annual prosperity index breaks down the best and worst places to live around the world for nine categories in total. One category is health. 

Australia was the best performing of the major Western countries, ranking 12th, according to the research by the London-based education charity. It was then followed by New Zealand (17th) Canada (21st), the UK (26th) and the US (35th).

Japan featured in the top ten healthiest countries, as did Qatar, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Switzerland, Austria, Sweden and Norway all also featured in the top ten. 

The quality of life of people globally is rising but the gaps between the best and worst is wider than ever, experts warn, showing huge inequalities in health, finance, politics, education and safety and security.

On the entire index, the UK was rated the seventh most successful country in the world. But health is the country's achilles heel.

The US also struggled to do well in the health category, which was its second worst performing area – after safety and security in which it ranked 43rd.  

The Central African Republic fared worst, with Chad, Guinea, Madagascar, Benin, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Niger and Uganda in tow.

The ranking was produced by measuring life and death-related factors like life expectancy, perceptions of health problems, vaccination rates, tuberculosis, obesity and diabetes. And it also took into account feelings of joy, sadness, and worry, people's satisfaction with their country's healthcare, and the quality of sanitation facilities.

Big movers include Zimbabwe, which had the biggest increase in life expectancy, with it rising 15 years in the last decade.

Laos, India and Tajikistan have had the best recent increase in the quality of their healthcare systems. On the negative side, people in eastern Europe are the least satisfied with their healthcare of anyone in the world.

comments powered by Disqus

to the free, weekly Asian Voice email newsletter