A new global health ranking has identified the world’s healthiest – and most unhealthy – countries in 2019.
The Indigo Wellness Index, compiled and led by Richard Davies at economics consultancy Bloomsbury Economics and published by investment business LetterOne in the new journal Global Perspectives, is one of the most comprehensive to date, covering 191 countries across the globe.
The Index created a series of rankings based on 10 key measures, ordering the countries from the weakest performers (ranked 1) to the strongest (ranked, for example, 191).
The 10 measures were healthy life expectancy, blood pressure, blood glucose (diabetes risk), obesity, depression, happiness, alcohol use, tobacco use, inactivity (too little exercise), and government spending on healthcare.
It then calculated a ratio to asses how close each country is to the best score overall – the worst score is 0, while the best score is 1.
South Africa was ranked the most unhealthy country on earth, while Canada came out on top as the most healthy country.
In South Africa, 225 people die from heart disease every day. A lack of awareness around cardiovascular disease means many people go undiagnosed and untreated until it is too late.
Also statistics from the World Health Organisation show that South Africans have a 26% probability of dying from cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, or chronic respiratory disease between ages 30 and 70.
The WHO also found that more than 28% of adults were obese – the highest obesity rate among sub-Saharan African countries.
Below are the Top 10 most unhealthy countries in the world
10. Iraq — 0.37. Inactivity, low life expectancy, lack of state spending, low levels of happiness, and high levels of obesity were the most concerning factors here.
9. Haiti — 0.37. Haiti scored poorly on happiness, state spending, and life expectancy.
8. Central African Republic — 0.36. Life expectancy and state spending were the standout categories for this Central African country.
7. Armenia – 0.35. This Asian country is the seventh most unhealthy due to its blood glucose, blood pressure, and depression scores.
6. Barbados — 0.34. It may seem idyllic, but this Caribbean country had alarming scores across a wide range of categories, including blood pressure, depression, obesity, inactivity, and binge drinking.
5. Micronesia (Federated States of) — 0.34. Obesity, drinking, and low government spending on health put Micronesia in tied 5th place.
4. Bulgaria — 0.33. Sunny Beach may look like the perfect holiday spot, but its home of Bulgaria is the fourth most unhealthy in the world due to blood pressure, depression, and drinking.
3. Kiribati — 0.31. Obesity is the biggest concern here, putting the Oceanic country in third place.
2. Saint Lucia — 0.29. Binge drinking, blood pressure, and blood glucose scores made Saint Lucia the second most unhealthy country in the world.
1. South Africa — 0.28. Scoring poorly on all measures, its scores on obesity, drinking, and life expectancy in particular that make South Africa the most unhealthy country in the world in 2019.