According to the recent 2017 Bloomberg Healthiest Countries Index, Italy, known for its Mediterranean-diet, is ranked number one in the world!
The index is based on a combination of factors including health risks (e.g. tobacco use, clean water availability, malnutrition and high blood pressure), life expectancy and causes of death. Of the more than 200 countries and regions analyzed, only 163 had enough data to be included in the final list.
Here are the top 20 healthiest countries according to Bloomberg:
The United Kingdom is ranked 23 and the United States comes in at 34, trailing Cuba, Lebanon and Costa Rica.
There are two main reasons that explain why Italians are the healthiest on Earth:
- 1. Italy has a universal health system that is free or low cost at the point of delivery; and covers the vast majority of drugs. Although there are regional differences in standards of care at some of the state-run hospitals, the country overall has a medical workforce that offers a high level of care. Private insurance is available for those who may want to avoid waiting times. General taxes pay for full coverage of hospital treatments, tests, medications, surgery, emergency care and access to a family doctor. According to a report in The Guardian, Italy is the only country that allows a family to choose free pediatric care for children until age 14. An Italian newborn can expect to live to be 80, while a baby born in Nigeria, has a life expectancy in the mid-50s.
U.S. per capita healthcare spending is more than twice the average of other developed countries while Italy’s per capita spending is the lowest of developed countries and approximately 1/3 that of the U.S.
- 2. The Italian Mediterranean diet, rich in fresh vegetables, fruits, legumes, pasta, fresh cheese, seafood and olive oil, is a substantial contributor to the health of its people. According to Beyond The Mediterranean Diet, European Secrets Of The Super-Healthy, diet, attitude, lifestyle-activity and portion control also contribute to longevity and reduced risk of heart disease and other illnesses.
“Italian food” in the U.S. is generally not the same as it is in Italy. Overstuffed hero sandwiches filled with fried and processed meat, pizza made with bromated flour and artificially flavored cheese and plates piled-high with pasta are not part of the traditional Italian Mediterranean lifestyle.
Registered dietitians, nutritionists, health professionals, foodies and friends can now experience the healthy Mediterranean lifestyle first-hand, on a curated cultural and culinary tour in the coastal region of Puglia, located in southern Italy. Puglia, with its authentic biodiversity, is the breadbasket of Italy producing locally grown fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seafood, grains, fresh dairy, olive oil and wine.
If you like to travel and want to learn about pasta-making, bread-making, cheese-making, olive-oil harvesting and more from renowned cooks and experts of the region, join the author of Beyond The Mediterranean Diet and Southern Visions Travel in Puglia, Italy this fall, 2017.
“Passion For Puglia- Culinary Immersion Beyond the Mediterranean Diet” offers 30 continuing education credits from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. For further information and details visit: www.WorldRD.com/travel. This trip was sold out last year so book early for a $200 discount.