Spain has overtaken Italy to become the world’s healthiest country in 2019 according to the latest edition of the Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index.

The Bloomberg Global Health Index evaluates 169 countries in its report. The factors used to rank the countries include:

  • Health risks (tobacco use, high blood pressure, obesity)
  • Health Care Systems
  • Availability of clean water
  • Life expectancy
  • Diet
  • Causes of death

Spain has the highest life expectancy among EU nations, and is in third place behind Japan and Switzerland globally (Source: United Nations).

By 2040 Spain is forecast to have the World’s longest life expectancy, at almost 86 years, followed by Japan, Singapore and Switzerland. (Source: University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation).

“Primary care is essentially provided by public providers, specialized family doctors and staff nurses, who provide preventive services to children, women and elderly patients, and acute and chronic care,” Spain has seen a decline over the past decade in cardiovascular diseases and deaths from cancer. (Source: European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies 2018 review of Spain).

The Spanish Diet is heavily plant based

Researchers say eating habits provide clues to health levels enjoyed by Spain and Italy, as a “Mediterranean diet, supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts, had a lower rate of major cardiovascular events than those assigned to a reduced-fat diet,” (Source:  University of Navarra Medical School).

Spanish people eat and drink in moderation. They prefer mostly whole foods simply prepared, and eat few take away meals and processed ready meals.

Southern Spain, especially the region around Malaga has an amazing climate with around 320 days of sun a year, this makes people feel better. Combine this with the healthy food available from more than the 6000 restaurants on the Costa del Sol, and it’s obvious why this area has such a healthy population.

Although not completely vegan, the Spanish eat very little meat and fish compared with Northern European countries. They also eat slowly and sitting at the table, they make time to eat and respect their food.

The Spanish are also extremely active and spend more time outdoors and in the sunshine than most other nations.

The UK came in 19th position, to a large extent due to the obesity crisis also affecting the USA.

Being overweight or obese is the single biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking and is linked to 18,100 cases every year in the UK alone.

It’s clear from the report that a plant centric diet is important in achieving a long and healthy life. Welcome to Spain!