The Top 5 Locations with the Best Health and Highest Life Expectancy
Why do people in certain locations around the world live longer than others? What is the secret to enjoying a long and healthy life? Most health analysts agree that of all the locations in the world where the local population can live well into their eighties, nineties and beyond, there are a number of common factors that help these people defy the odds and live forever (almost!). So, if you reside in an area with social, economic and political stability, and have access to high quality healthcare, you are more likely to enjoy a long and rewarding retirement.
Life expectancy is arguably the most accurate criteria to determine just how good the health system is in a certain location, and we will now list the top five locations around the world where people who have access to excellent medical services will presumably live far longer than the rest of us mere mortals.
1. Andorra – 83.51 years
There are only 71,000 people living in Andorra and the average person there will live for approximately 83 years, which is pretty impressive coming from the small principality located in the Pyrenees between Spain and France. What is equally impressive is that, prior to the Second World War, Andorra was desperately poor. Today, it’s economy is thriving mainly due to it being an extremely popular tourist destination (over 10 million visitors each year), and being one of Europe’s best known tax havens.
The Andorran government takes care of its citizens with a first class healthcare system. Through its mandatory social insurance scheme, it subsidizes between 75 and 100 percent of healthcare costs for all residents. what’s more, there are also ample healthcare facilities including health centers and one large hospital to ensure each resident has easy access to medical treatment.
2. Macau – 82.19 years
The former Portuguese colony of Macau, now known as a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People’s Republic of China, is a small island located in the South China Sea just off the Chinese province of Guangdong. When one thinks of Macau, we often conjure up images of the ‘Las Vegas of Asia’- glitzy casinos, flash cars, wealthy middle aged men surrounded by beautiful women literally throwing their money away each night. Not to mention the millions of mainland Chinese daytrippers armed with their hard earned cash ready to spend it anyway possible.
The authorities in Macau, in true gambling style, have no time for sentiment and they have been very quick to invest the considerable annual profits from its casinos into its healthcare sector. For its residents, a good healthcare system, pleasant year round climate and a diet rich in seafood all ensure that the Macanese (who avoid the pitfalls of gambling) will live well into their eighties.
3. Singapore – 81.71 years
No surprise to see Singapore rank highly among places with above average life expectancy. Aside from the obvious wealth and prosperity Singaporeans enjoy, it is universally regarded as a great place to live, that is if you are ready to settled down. Singapore is the city-state where very little changes; the weather stays the same all year round and the exorbitant price of alcohol has resulted in a nightlife that is quiet and predictable. Singapore, in a nutshell, is generally thought of as fantastic for families, not so fantastic for young and single 20 somethings.
It will therefore come as no surprise then, to hear that Singapore has an ageing population – it now has more older citizens than young, and these oldies are living longer too. The government has been quick to notice this, and it has established an impressive healthcare network and related support services for the elderly. Singapore’s healthcare system is quite rightly regarded as one of the best in the world, and this is evident in its caring attitude towards its older citizens.
4. Hong Kong – 81.59 years
Hong Kong can best be described in one word: hectic. Like Macau, Hong Kong is also a Chinese SAR and it is known as one of the world’s leading financial centers. Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997, but prior to that, it was a British colony. Under British rule, Hong Kong prospered and its citizens enjoyed a very good standard of living in comparison to its neighbors on mainland China.
Despite being one of the world’s most densely populated areas, Hong Kong has ample public facilities for its citizens to enjoy. Outside of the hustle and bustle around Central, there is plenty of natural countryside and many Hong Kong residents travel to these areas at weekends to hike, swim, trek, wakeboard – you name it. In addition to plenty of exercise, citizens of Hong Kong eat a healthy diet that is rich in foods such as tofu, rice, vegetables and fish.
what’s more, Hong Kong’s health care system is one of the best in Asia and it provides first class public health services to all legal residents.
5. Japan – 81.25 years
Asia features heavily in the top locations with a high life expectancy, and in fifth and final place, we find Japan. In more recent times, Japan has occupied the top spot and its consistent performance in this list is simply due to the remarkable lifestyle of its citizens. The traditional Japanese diet consists of fish, rice, noodles and vegetables, all of which are prepared fresh and with very little added sauces or seasonings. The effects of this diet have been remarkable as not only do the Japanese live longer, they also have one of the lowest rates of obesity in the developed world at just three percent of the population.
Daily exercise is also a requirement for many Japanese and given the population density of cities like Tokyo, citizens are more inclined to walk or use public transport as opposed to driving their car to work. Healthcare in Japan is also of a very high standard, and its universal health insurance system called ‘kaihoken’ has helped ensure that all citizens receive appropriate medical treatment and services as and when required.
To summarise, the recurring theme among these top five locations appears to be the healthy diet that its citizens rigidly stick to, and in particular the regular consumption of fish and seafood. Many varieties of fish and seafood are available throughout Asia, and the naturally high levels of nutrition found in this food type is clearly helping people to live healthier and to live longer.
As a final word of encouragement to all those who enviously look on at those fit and healthy 80 years olds marching around their local park, the message is clear: eat more sushi!