Forbes.com has put together a list of the world’s healthiest countries. Kate Schecter, Program Officer for the American International Health Alliance, told Forbes.com that the highest-ranking countries tended to have “an ethic of … more of a nationalized healthcare system,” and saw healthcare as a given human right, not a privilege for the well-to-do.
The U.S. Ranking
The United States ranked 11th, though we spend over 15% of our gross domestic product (GDP) on healthcare. Almost 16% of the U.S. population doesn’t have health insurance, but we do have relatively low air pollution, low infant mortality, and one of the lowest incidences of tuberculosis (TB) in the world.
Forbes.com’s Top Five:
The Forbes.com survey looked at factors like air pollution, incidence of tuberculosis, length of healthy lifespan, and infant mortality rates to put this list together. Here are their top five Healthiest Countries in the World:
5. Switzerland. The Swiss spend over 11% of their GDP on universal healthcare, has a high “physician density” – the ratio of doctors to the overall population – and has a high healthy life expectancy. But their air pollution levels keep them from ranking higher overall.
4. Germany. Germany’s healthcare system is one of the best in the world – but also one of the most expensive. The country has a high physician density and excellent air quality, and spends almost 11% of the GDP on healthcare.
3. Finland. Turn back the clock 30 years, and Finland had one of the highest heart-disease-related death rates in the world – which encouraged authorities to promote healthy living. Today, those death rates have dropped dramatically and the country has very low infant mortality rates, along with low instance of TB.
2. Sweden. Sweden’s environmental policy has created one of the highest air qualities on the list, with minimal air pollution. Infant mortality and TB rates are the lowest in the world. A lower physician density than the leading country kept them out of the first-place spot.
And the healthiest country in the world is:
1. Iceland. Iceland is one of the least polluted countries on the globe, with a very high healthy life expectancy, low infant mortality, and a high number of doctors when compared to the size of the general population.
Do you think the U.S. should have ranked higher on the Forbes.com list of the world’s healthiest countries?