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Japan Tops List of Healthiest Countries

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Health Issues page and our Appetite For a Change page.

The United States spends $2.7 trillion annually -- TWICE the amount per person as most other industrialized nations - on health care. With this level of spending, you might think Americans would be among the healthiest people on the planet   unfortunately, that isn't the case.

Japan Tops List of Healthiest Countries

The Global Burden of Disease study, which assessed health and disease trends in 187 countries and is said to be the "largest ever systematic effort to describe the global distribution and causes of a wide array of major diseases, injuries, and health risk factors,"1 released its rankings of the top 10 countries with the highest life expectancies. The United States did not make the cut - not even close.

For male life expectancy, the U.S. was ranked 29th, while for female life expectancy the rank was even lower, at 33rd. Japan ranked highest for both, followed by: 

Highest Male Healthy Life Expectancy      
1.  Japan
2.  Singapore
3.  Switzerland
4.  Spain
5.  Italy
6.  Australia
7.  Canada
8.  Andorra
9.  Israel
10.  South Korea

Highest Female Life Expectancy      
1.  Japan
2.  South Korea 
3.  Spain        
4.  Singapore       
5.  Taiwan       
6.  Switzerland      
7.  Andorra      
8.  Italy      
9.  Australia 
10.  France

What's Japan's Secret?

As for why the Japanese are the longest-lived race on the planet (they were also ranked healthiest back in 1990), the researchers couldn't say exactly, although Harvard School of Public Health Professor Joshua Salomon, one of the study's lead investigators, noted:3

  "It's likely a combination of factors, a combination of genetics and of healthy behaviors, including diet." 


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