Life truly is beautiful for Italy, which has been ranked as the healthiest country in the world by the Bloomberg Global Health Index. And the main reason why is no big secret — it’s their diet.
Due to the country’s healthy food, access to clean water, as well as high life expectancy, the Bloomberg Global Health Index found that Italy had the highest quality of life in all of those categories. Currently, children born in Italy can expect to live well into their 80s, whereas life expectancy in the United States is 76.5 for men and 81.2 for women.
Many Italians stick to a Mediterranean diet, which is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, olive oil, fish and lean meat. The Mediterranean diet is widely considered one of the healthiest diets — and for good reason.
One study found that eating a Mediterranean diet reduced the risk of dying from cancer, heart disease and neurodegenerative illnesses. People who stick to a Mediterranean diet are also rarely obese — only 10 percent of the Italian population are considered obese, according to the European Association for the Study of Obesity.
In addition to maintaining a healthy diet, Italians have great access to health care. Italy has an unusually high amount of doctors — for every 10,000 people there are 38 physicians, whereas the U.S. is experiencing a shortage of doctors.
Italy does have a high unemployment rate and struggles with economic setbacks, which impacts its overall happiness levels, but not health ranking. According to the World Happiness Report, Italy is in the 48th spot out of 155 countries. The U.S., however, was ranked number 14. These statistics were based on job satisfaction, stress and other factors which might influence a person’s happiness.
So, lift your glass of Italian red wine and cheers to Italy’s good health.