The 10 healthiest countries in the world

japan

Overview

Life expectancy has improved dramatically in recent decades. The global infant mortality rate of 33.6 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2013 has followed a long-term downward trend. The improvements were uneven, however, and health conditions continue to vary widely between nations. To assess the overall state of a country’s health, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed a host of factors broadly categorized as health indicators, access measures, or the economy. The healthiest country led the countries reviewed with the highest overall score, while the least healthy country, Sudan, received the lowest score.

These are the healthiest countries in the world:

10. Australia
Life expectancy: 79.9 (5th highest)
Infant mortality rate (per 1,000 live births): 3.4 (21st lowest)
Health expenditure per capita: $6,140 (6th highest)
Unemployment rate: 5.7% (58th lowest)
Based on an assessment of healthy behaviors and outcomes, access to health services, and various economic factors, Australia is the 10th healthiest country in the world. The country’s strong national health care system compared with most countries largely explains its ranking. There were about 3.3 physicians per 1,000 Australians in 2011, the 26th highest such ratio out of the 174 nations reviewed, and well more than twice the global prevalence of just over 1.5 physicians per 1,000 people. In addition, annual health spending totaled $6,140 per capita, sixth highest of all countries reviewed and nearly six times the global expenditure of $1,030 per capita. Partly as a result, country residents had among the world’s longest life expectancies at nearly 80 years in 2012. However, Australia also had a relatively high obesity rate, at 28.6%, and a relatively high alcohol consumption rate.

9. Sweden
Life expectancy: 79.9 (5th highest)
Infant mortality rate (per 1,000 live births): 2.4 (8th lowest)
Health expenditure per capita: $5,319 (10th highest)
Unemployment rate: 8.1% (62nd highest)
Like in most of the healthiest countries, Sweden has universal health coverage, with patient fees covering only a very small percentage of health costs. The country’s annual health expenditures totaled $5,319 per capita, the 10th highest spending world-wide. The high health-care spending and strong coverage have resulted in good health outcomes compared with most countries. There were just two infant mortalities per 1,000 live births and four maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in Sweden, both nearly the lowest such rates world-wide. Swedes also live longer than most people, with a life expectancy at birth of roughly 80 years. Compared with other healthy countries, however, Sweden’s 2013 unemployment rate of 8.1% was relatively high.

8. Singapore
Life expectancy: 79.9 (5th highest)
Infant mortality rate (per 1,000 live births): 2.2 (5th lowest)
Health expenditure per capita: $2,426 (22nd highest)
Unemployment rate: 2.8% (13th lowest)
The small island nation of Singapore has a remarkably strong economy. Less than 3% of Singapore’s workforce was unemployed in 2013, one of the lowest unemployment rates world-wide. Also, Singapore’s GDP per capita of $55,182 in 2013 was one of the higher economic outputs world-wide. In addition to a strong economy, Singapore fares especially well in health measures. The nation’s obesity rate of 6.2% was among the lower rates world-wide, and especially low compared with the healthiest countries. A child born in 2013 was also expected to live roughly 80 years, tied for the fifth highest life expectancy world-wide. While the city-state’s health-care system is universal, like many other especially healthy countries, it is a unique system. Residents are subject to a forced saving rate, and funds for medical expenses are saved in a Medisave Account. Catastrophic health insurance enrollment is automatic for all residents as well, although people can opt out.

7. Austria
Life expectancy: 78.4 (20th highest)
Infant mortality rate (per 1,000 live births): 3.2 (15th lowest)
Health expenditure per capita: $5,407 (9th highest)
Unemployment rate: 4.9% (45th lowest)
Health-care spending in Austria totaled about $5,400 per capita annually, ninth highest out of all countries reviewed. Like many other healthy countries, the relatively high level of health-care expenditure helps increase the number of physicians and quality of health care. There were nearly five doctors per 1,000 Austrians in 2011, the fourth highest ratio globally. As in most of the healthiest nations, the Austrian government controls most functions of the country’s health-care system. While Austria is one of the healthiest countries, nearly half of adult Austrians reported a smoking habit in 2011, one of the higher smoking rates world-wide.

6. Iceland
Life expectancy: 81.6 (the highest)
Infant mortality rate (per 1,000 live births): 1.6 (tied-the lowest)
Health expenditure per capita: $3,872 (16th highest)
Unemployment rate: 5.6% (56th lowest)
Iceland, by population, is the smallest of the 10 healthiest countries. Iceland is the sixth healthiest country world-wide partly because it had the highest life expectancy, which at 81.6 years was also a full year longer than Switzerland, the country with the second highest life expectancy. About 18% of adult Iceland women smoked, the 88th highest rate of all countries, while 19% of all adult males smoked, 17th highest of all countries. Iceland also had the lowest infant mortality rate, at just 1.6 deaths per 1,000 live births. Iceland’s low infant mortality rate came even though a relatively low 91% of children aged 12 to 23 months received DPT — diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), and tetanus — and measles vaccines.

5. Japan
Life expectancy: 79.9 (4th highest)
Infant mortality rate (per 1,000 live births): 2.1 (3rd lowest)
Health expenditure per capita: $4,752 (11th highest)
Unemployment rate: 4% (32nd lowest)
With 127 million people, Japan is the most populous of the 10 healthiest countries in the world. Ironically, it had the highest death rate of the top 10 countries, at 10 per 1,000 people. About one quarter of the nation’s population was over 65 last year, a testament to the longevity and health of Japanese people. One factor contributing to the strong overall health rating is Japan’s adult obesity rate of 3.3%, which was seventh best in the world and the best out of the 10 healthiest countries. Despite its high ranking, Japan has relatively high smoking rates for both males and females and one of the higher rates of CO2 emissions, at 9.2 metric tons per capita, almost twice the global average of 4.9 metric tons per capita. Japan’s tuberculosis rate of 18 per 100,000 people was far below the global rate of 126 per 100,000 people.

4. Luxembourg
Life expectancy: 79.1 (16th highest)
Infant mortality rate (per 1,000 live births): 1.6 (tied-the lowest)
Health expenditure per capita: $7,452 (4th highest)
Unemployment rate: 5.9% (63rd lowest)
Luxembourg
With the fourth highest per capita health-care spending, Luxembourg, the only grand duchy in the world, also has the fourth best health results, suggesting a link between health spending and outcomes. Luxembourg had the lowest mortality rates for both infants and children under five years old. But like most of the 10 healthiest countries, Luxembourg has a relatively high death rate. Though it is reasonably strong, the country’s overall health ranking is likely held back by its residents’ relatively high alcohol consumption of 11.9 liters per capita, and relatively high obesity rate of 23.1%.

3. Switzerland
Life expectancy: 80.6 (2nd highest)
Infant mortality rate (per 1,000 live births): 3.6 (24th lowest)
Health expenditure per capita: $8,980 (2nd highest)
Unemployment rate: 4.4% (40th lowest)
switzerland
With the second highest life expectancy of all nations, Switzerland is the third healthiest country in the world. Switzerland had 3.9 physicians per 1,000 people, the ninth highest ratio of the 172 nations reviewed. The country ranked high overall despite a relatively high death rate of nine deaths per 1,000 people as well as prevalent risk factors. The per capita alcohol consumption in Switzerland of 10.7 liters was almost 73% higher than the global average. Also, an estimated 22% of adult females and 31% of adult males smoked. The incidence of tuberculosis in Switzerland of 6.5 cases per 100,000 people was 16th highest in the world. Despite these habits, Switzerland’s population remains very healthy, perhaps due to its health-care expenditure. An annual $8,980 per capita was spent on health in the country, the second highest globally.

2. Norway
Life expectancy: 79.5 (9th highest)
Infant mortality rate (per 1,000 live births): 2.3 (6th lowest)
Health expenditure per capita: $9,055 (the highest)
Unemployment rate: 3.5% (22nd lowest)
norwaY
Norway spends more on health care per capita than any other country. The country’s annual health care spending totaled $9,055, ahead of Switzerland’s $8,980 and the U.S.’s $8,895. Norway had a relatively high death rate of 8.4 deaths per 1,000 people, six times that of Qatar. Norway’s infant mortality rate, its mortality rate for those under five, and life expectancy rate at birth all ranked within the top 10 of all nations, however. While the country fared relatively poorly on health measures, its economy is very strong, and residents have some of the best access to health professionals and facilities in the world. Norway had the second best access to services, reflecting clean water and that its entire population had access to electricity. There were also nearly four physicians per 1,000 people in the country, one of the highest shares.

1. Qatar
Life expectancy: 77.6 (28th highest)
Infant mortality rate (per 1,000 live births): 7.0 (44th lowest)
Health expenditure per capita: $2,029 (25th highest)
Unemployment rate: 0.5% (2nd lowest) qatar

While Qatar topped 24/7 Wall St.’s health rankings, it was the only country of the 10 healthiest not to have a national health care system. As the emirate is transitioning to a universal system, however, the health of its population may become even better. Qatar plans to have its entire population covered by the end of this year. With 7.7 physicians per 1,000 people, more than any other country, the country’s health system is already very good. Qatar fared very well in health, access, and economic measures, largely on the strength of its relatively low overall death rate of 1.4 deaths per 1,000 people and relatively low maternal mortality rate. The small Middle Eastern country, which is about the size of Connecticut, took steps to protect its citizens from diseases with 99% of children receiving the DPT and measles vaccines. As in several other prosperous and healthy nations, Qatar had the second-highest obesity rate in the world.

source : marketwatch

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