The 13 Countries Where People Live The Longest
The search for eternal youth has cropped up in many stories in many cultures but none have truly been successful in ever achieving this legendary status of being despite hygiene and health care constantly improving throughout the ages. However, some countries may be closer to achieving this feat than others. The World Economic Forum (WEF) has recently released Global Competitiveness Survey that measures both the financial health of a nation as well as the health of its populations and the WEF ranked countries in terms of the average life expectancy, showing where in the world people live the longest.
Here we go through the top 13 of these countries and look at the reasons behind why their populations may reach a greater age than that of others.
13. Sweden - 82 Years
As is expected, the more developed an economy, the higher the access to decent healthcare and so the life expectancy tends to increase. In Sweden, the average comes in 2 years higher than most developed countries and a lot of this is attributed to the incredibly high water quality in the country that makes drinking water extremely pure and clean.
With a culture that promotes health, family, and community above all else, stress-related health issues are also low.
12. Iceland - 82.1 Years
Another Nordic nation that makes the list is Iceland, just pipping Sweden by a tiny margin, much of the success of the health of its small population is attributed to the diet which has nutritionists calling it the world's best diet due to the high levels of fish, grains, and root vegetables with not too much meat or dairy in the mix which reduces the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Amongst the happiest nations on Earth as well, Iceland has a high level of mental happiness that reduces the risk of suicide or neglect to physical health.
=9. South Korea - 82.2 Years
South Korea's wealth has dramatically risen over the past few decades and so its affluent middle class has become more proliferated throughout the country allowing for greater access to better healthcare as well as a culture of caring for one's elders where the aged are prized for their knowledge and experience.
As such, they are treated with great reverence and kept mentally and physically healthy through interaction into their later years although high pollution stops the country surging further up the list.
=9. Luxembourg - 82.2 Years
This tiny European nation has a very small population which is very wealthy and so the best healthcare and a healthy diet are easy to come by in this medically and technologically advanced nation where the very best of everything can be bought in. In fact, with one of the highest incomes per capita in Europe, Luxembourg is known for its wealth.
They say money can't buy you happiness but it would appear it can buy health.
=9. Israel - 82.2 Years
Despite mandatory military service, Israel's men are amongst the longest-lived in the world and it may actually be due to the military service which encourages adults to stay active from a young age. This is largely down to a diet that has limited red meat and alcohol and a universal healthcare system that guarantees access to medical provisions for all.
Despite military tensions in the region leading to the loss of lives at a young age, Israel is a rich nation with good health care and, for the most part, people have great longevity.
8. Australia - 82.3 Years
An incredibly health-conscious nation, the diet of most Australians involves a lot of vegetables as well as year-round warm weather providing good conditions for outdoor activities which also lends to the incredible sporting culture of the nation. With smoking also widely considered taboo, there is a very low level of smokers in the country.
A hub for healthy eating, Australia has become known for its health food shops and dietary specific businesses.
7. France - 82.4 Years
With one of the lowest obesity rates in the developed world, France's desire for the slender aesthetic also lends to its population's longevity as health is prized. Part of this also comes the food culture of a nation that demands only the best of the best from its own cuisine with fine dining and regular cuisine all having an ethos of good, pure ingredients.
A strong sporting nation also sees high levels of activity throughout the country.
6. Singapore - 82.6 Years
Like Luxembourg, Singapore is a wealthy nation with a small population and so access to medical care is high and easy for most with investment in preventive and therapeutic health care rising through the past 30 years to increase the average life expectancy dramatically although pollution has been an increasing problem also.
It may also have something to do with its tourism economy which provides a lot of leisure activity opportunities alongside the decent health care options.
5. Italy - 82.7 Years
With less of a wealth gap between the rich and the poor, the majority of the country can get access to eat healthy and fresh food. In a culture that prizes the simplicity of great, fresh ingredients in their food, only the best will do and so the nature of the diet goes some way to explaining why Italy ranks so highly on this list.
With long stretches of coast, the diet revolves around fish and vegetables over much else.
4. Switzerland - 82.8 Years
The wealth of Switzerland makes healthcare easily accessible for most with high-quality care within reach for those who can afford it. It's mountainous terrain filled with alpine fields and clear. blue lakes also mean that it has incredibly high air and water quality making even the basic amenities of high-quality stuff.
Because of this, people are also quite active within the nation.
3. Spain - 83.1 Years
The famous Mediterranean diet filled with fresh vegetables and fish, as well as healthy fats such as olive oil and nuts and has been known to contribute to a long and healthy lifestyle whilst year round good weather means that many take up outdoor activities to stay fit with the nation being soccer mad and recent world cup wins leading to more and more taking up the sport.
Not one of the richest nations in Europe, Spain still has ease of access to healthcare facilities.
2. Japan - 83.6 Years
The previous number 1 just three years ago, it fell to the number 2 spot due to the high number of suicides which comes from a very socially conservative society that prizes high achievement and social status. Despite this, the healthcare and lifestyle mean that a diet high in fish and grains, reverence for the elderly and low obesity all contribute to incredible longevity.
Soon to host the 2020 Olympic games, the government has invested heavily in sporting and leisure facilities over the past few years.
1. Hong Kong - 84 Years
Despite being heavily congested with traffic and high levels of pollution, Hong Kong is very wealthy and has excellent medical care which goes hand in hand with the Cantonese tradition of taking part in non-combative Tai Chi which many do and maintain into old age keeping them active and healthy throughout life.
A diet of steamed foods and tea consumption also makes for healthy consumption.