The World Happiness Report has been gauging the happiness of nations since 2012, and two new studies, 1) the Global Wellness Index (from investment firm LetterOne) and 2) the Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index now offer a window into how 150+ nations fare when it comes to overall health and wellness. Each index uses slightly different measures, so rankings vary somewhat, but both are important new tools in “thinking beyond GDP” to measure the real wellbeing of a country. A pattern emerges: smaller countries dominate the lists while big countries with booming economies have fallen behind.

Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index: Spain #1

The Bloomberg Index uses UN, World Bank and WHO data on 169 nations, measuring things like mortality rates, life expectancy, obesity, tobacco and alcohol use – and also mental health and air and water quality. Spain, Italy, Iceland and Japan were the top four, while Sub-Saharan nations accounted for 27 of the 30 unhealthiest nations. The US ranked 35th, the UK 19th.


Global Wellness Index: Canada #1

The economists focused on ten metrics for 151 nations: blood pressure, blood glucose, obesity, depression, happiness, alcohol use, tobacco use, exercise, healthy life expectancy and government healthcare spending. Canada, Oman and Iceland took the top three spots and South Africa ranked dead last. The US ranked 37th, the UK 17th.


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