Officials Have Spoken and Spain Is the World’s Healthiest Country

Every year, the Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index is released, ranking the world’s countries based on their health. Following a set of factors to rank 169 different countries on a scale of 100, the index takes into account things like life expectancy, sanitation, clean water access, obesity, health risks (such as tobacco usage), and malnutrition.

Taking seventh place on the list, it’s safe to say that we’re pretty lucky here in Australia. As one of the world’s healthiest countries, we not only surpass our commonwealth counterparts like Canada (16) and the U.K. (19) — but we also blow the U.S. (35) out of the water. 

Our relatively high standards undeniably deserve a pat on the back, but we can also look to those ahead of us for inspiration. While Japan (4) is often praised for having the worlds oldest inhabitants, Italy (2) and Spain (1) are the overall healthiest. 

Starting to think that all those articles about “Mediterranean diets” might be true? Us too.

“Although Spain is known for smoking, drinking a lot of wine, and staying up late, their everyday diet and lifestyle choices sets them above the rest,” World Population Review reports. Though the average Spaniard drinks more than twice the global average, El País reports, their active lifestyle and healthy diet seem to be making up for it. 

Following in the average Spaniard’s footsteps might be a good place to start if you’re looking to improve your health. The good news: These small changes aren’t that hard to master. For a list of ways you can emulate people living the world’s healthiest country, keep scrolling.

How You Can Copy Spaniards to Live a Healthier Life

  • Follow a Mediterranean Diet: Try to eat fresh fruits and vegetables every day. Make sure that any meat or fish you buy is as fresh as possible. People in Spain use olive oil for everything, so swap it for butter and use it to season your dishes.
  • Drive Less: 37% of Spaniards walk to work, Reader’s Digest reports. This enables them to stay healthy, without spending too much time in the gym.
  • Eat a Bigger Lunch: Eating more to be healthier might seem odd, but in Spain, lunch is the main meal of the day. Though they eat dinner far later than most countries (between 9-11 p.m.), this meal is much smaller than what we’d consider dinner. There have been a number of studies showing that having a bigger lunch and smaller dinner is beneficial for weight-loss and Spain seems to be the perfect example.
  • Take a Nap: Spaniards are known for taking siestas (or short naps) in the middle of the day, and though the number of people who actually do so today is dwindling, there is reason to think that the habit could be beneficial. According to  El País, “Just 26 minutes of shut-eye is recommended by the Spanish Society of Doctors for Primary Health as it improves memory, mood and keeps your heart healthy.” 

Whether it’s walking to work or adding a daily nap into your routine, even starting with one of these habits could be extremely beneficial to your health. Start small, and eventually, these small changes will become a part of your everyday lifestyle. By learning from the countries ahead of us, Australia can constantly change and improve to become healthier every year.