A few countries are way ahead in terms of having healthier populations. Modern medicine looks very different from how medicine looked centuries and even decades ago. People are living longer because of better disease prevention and treatment. Even for incurable diseases, there are better ways to deal with chronic illness and prolong life. Other improvements that have affected the lifespan of people are looked at in this article.
Measuring the Health of a Population
There are various measures of health. While these might not be able to give a conclusive picture of entire populations, they do give a very good approximation of general trends in health and healthcare in different countries around the world. This is very useful for comparison and learning. Countries lagging behind can emulate the policies, systems, diets, and behaviors of the people in countries that are leading the pack.
One of the measures of health is life expectancy. There are numerous causes of death besides health-related issues. That being said, a higher average life expectancy in a particular country is a good indication that the healthcare system is working well to eliminate many avoidable deaths. Another statistic used to gauge the health of a population is the infant mortality rate. A low rate is a good indicator. Other measures of health used include the mortality rate, which indicates how many people die each year in that country, the morbidity rate, which gives an indication of how many non-fatal medical incidents there are, and disability data. All these different measures of health can be combined to produce summary measures that are usual for comparison.
In measuring health, it is also important and useful to look at other non-medical issues that contribute to the health of a nation. The healthcare system and the way it is funded is an important factor that makes or break the nation’s health. Other social and economic influences that affect health levels include employment rates, poverty rates, literacy levels, culture, and religion. In different parts of the world, for example, some cultures and religions may conflict with modern medicine and conventional practices, for better or worse. Income and employment levels affect the extent to which people can access good nutrition, clean water, healthcare services, and proper housing.
Countries with the Healthiest People in the World
After the numbers have been tallied and a broad list of criteria and statistics has been looked at, the countries with the healthiest populations are now known. At the very top of the list is Iceland, as ranked by Forbes Magazine. The life expectancy for men in this nation is 79 years, while for women it is 83 years. There is a low rate of infant mortality at 3.2 deaths per 1,000 live births.
The second healthiest country in the world is Japan. Life expectancy is also very high at 79 years in men and 86 years in women. Similarly, there is a low infant mortality rate of 3.2 deaths per 1,000 live births. One of the interesting facts about Japan and a possible factor in the health of the nation could be the diet. Japan is the biggest consumer of fish in the whole world.
Ranked at number three is the country of Sweden. Life expectancy is at 78 years for men and 83 years for women. The infant mortality rate is lower still at 2.9 deaths per 1,000 live births. Cooking techniques in Sweden could play an important role in the population’s health. The Swiss prefer to smoke, poach, ferment, or dry their foods rather than use oil.
The fourth-ranked country is New Zealand, and Finland is in fifth place. Health is complex to measure, but by developing healthy habits, people can impact their own health. Uncontrollable factors such as genetics also play a role. At the national level, better healthcare funding, education, and economic development are vital.