World’s Healthiest Countries
Icelanders enjoy one of the world’s highest healthy life expectancies (72 for men and 74 for women), giving them plenty of time with the country’s mountains, glaciers, volcanoes, waterfalls and coastal lands. The country is also one of the world’s least polluted. Ensuring Iceland’s top position is the country’s TB prevalence (2.2 per 100,000 people) and infant mortality rate (two deaths per 1,000 live births), both the world’s lowest. The country also has one of the highest physician densities, 3.62 per 1,000 people.
Sweden’s strong environmental policies helped it land the No. 2 spot on our list. Sweden’s air is clean enough to place the country in the top three. Its infant mortality rate, three deaths per 1,000 live births, and TB prevalence, 4.6 per 100,000 people, are the lowest in the world. Keeping the country from first place is its physician density (3.28 physicians per 1,000 people), relatively high worldwide but lower than the top-spot country, Iceland.
Thirty years ago, this low-polluting country had the highest death rate from heart disease for men (around five deaths per 1,000). This drove local governments to encourage healthy living. Fruit and vegetable intake more than doubled since then and the number of smokers has dwindled. The death rate from heart disease is now down to one, on average, for the region. The country also has one of the world’s lowest infant mortality rates, or three deaths per 1,000 live births, and a low TB prevalence, or 4.8 per 100,000 people.
In Germany there is no waiting for appointments, no need for referrals to see a specialist and, until recently, you didn’t even pay for your taxi ride to the hospital. All this plus state of the art facilities come at a high price. The German health care system, one of the best in the world, is also one of the most expensive. The country’s total expenditure on health is 10.6 % of its GDP and pays for one of the highest physician densities on our list, 3.37 physicians per 1,000 people. Germany’s clean air solidified its position in the top five.
Switzerland spends over 11 % of its GDP on universal health coverage, the second-highest health spending per capita of all the countries considered. It has one of the world’s highest healthy life expectancies, or 71 for men and 75 for women. Its physician density, 3.61 per 1,000 members of the population, is also one of the highest on the list. Preventing the country from ranking higher is its air pollution estimate, the highest of the countries in the top five.
Australia’s health care system is one of the best in the world. Got a less than squeaky-clean medical history, numerous past claims or just plain old age? No worries, mate! Down under, insurance companies are required to charge policyholders the same premiums regardless of one’s status or past. Australia also received high marks for its air, among the world’s cleanest. Keeping Australia from making into the top five is its TB prevalence: 5.9 per 100,000 people.