Happiness is not a goal – it’s a by-product of a life well-lived. In order to achieve happiness, it can be expected that individuals will live a long and healthy life.
In our latest study, Our Life Plan has revealed the best and worst countries for life satisfaction and longevity in 2021. We looked at several factors including smoking, obesity and diabetes rates, as well as reported employee overtime and overall life satisfaction.
Our study revealed that citizens in Singapore are likely to be the happiest and healthiest, with Brits coming in the bottom half of the 32 countries studied.
We also studied the ten countries with the highest life expectancy to reveal what health-trends their citizens are searching for the m in order to live the longest.
Here are the findings:
The Top 10 Countries With the Happiest and Healthiest Citizens
The top 10 locations in our study highlight how much longer your life expectancy could be. Inhabitants of these countries can expect to live to at least 82, on average. The diabetes rates are all significantly lower than the global average of 9.3%, with the exception of Germany which has a rate of 9.8%.
Australia boasts the lowest amount of smokers, with just 12.1% of the population smoking regularly. Whereas in Iceland, where the average life expectancy is 82 years old and ranks seventh on the list, 35.15% of the population smoke, a staggering 16.15% above the global average of 19%.
The Top 10 Countries With the Worst Life Longevity
According to our study, Columbian citizens have the lowest life longevity with a life satisfaction score of 6.3 out of 10. The government spends the least amount of money per citizen on healthcare out of the 32 countries studied, at just £1,359.56 which could go some way to explaining the high obesity rates. With the highest reported employee overtime out of the countries studied, at 26.56%, long working days contribute and a lack of work life balance contribute to short life longevity.
Costa Rica, despite having a fairly high life expectancy, at 84 years, ranks low on life longevity. Over a quarter of the population suffers from obesity, with high smoking and diabetes rates too.
Similarly, over a quarter of Turkish citizens smoke and with nearly 1 in 3 citizens being obese, helping contribute to their extremely low life expectancy and life longevity rates.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the United States has the highest obesity rates of any of the countries studied, with 36% of adults being obese.
Take a look at the full ranking of countries here:
|Rank||Country||Average Life Expectancy||Health Grade||Healthcare (£ Per Capita)||Smoking Rates by Country %||Cancer Rates per 100,000 (%)||% of population with Diabetes||% of Obese Adults||Life Satisfaction Score Out of 10||Reported Employee Overtime (%)||Overall Score|
The Most Searched-for Self-Care Trends To Improve Your Life Longevity
Everyone wants to know the secret to living a long and happy life, and taking a look at what people are searching for in the countries that live the longest give us some big hints on what could be having positive impacts on the life length.
We looked at the countries which have the longest life expectancy and found the health trends which could be the reason they live so long.
Listening to music seems to have a profound impact on the lives of individuals living in Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and South Korea.
Take a look at the top three health trends for the countries with the longest life longevity here:
|Rank||Country||Life Expectancy||Top health trend for 2021||Number of monthly google searches||Second health trend||Number of monthly google searches||Third health trend||Number of monthly google searches|
|1||Hong Kong||84.7||Listening to music||12,100||Practising Yoga||9,900||Hiit workout||9,900|
|2||Japan||84.5||CBD Products||74,000||Hiit workout||40,500||Playing with pets||33,100|
|3||Singapore||83.8||Listening to music||246,000||Intermittent Fasting||18,100||Ketogenic diet||14,800|
|4||Italy||83.6||Practising Yoga||74,000||Doing a puzzle||74,000||Pilates||60,500|
|5||Spain||83.4||Doing a puzzle||90,500||Practising Yoga||74,000||Pilates||49,500|
|6||Switzerland||83.4||Doing a puzzle||22,200||Practising Yoga||22,200||CBD Products||14,800|
|7||Australia||83.3||Listening to music||110,000||Ketogenic diet||90,500||Painting||74,000|
|8||Iceland||83.3||Painting||590||Practising Yoga||590||Doing a puzzle||590|
|9||Israel||82.8||Painting||8,100||Listening to music||8,100||Doing a puzzle||5,400|
|10||South Korea||82.8||Painting||8,100||Listening to music||8,100||Playing with pets||6,600|
Activities which engage the brain such as completing puzzles and painting could be the reason behind long life expectancies in Spain, Switzerland, Iceland and Israel, whereas the Japanese follow an alternative medicine route, with CBD products being their main health trend.
Italians take a different, more athletic approach, with yoga being the health trend which helps them keep their youthful looks.
Playing with pets also looks to have an impact on life expectancy, along with eating a ketogenic diet. General Practitioner Natasha Larmie, who runs the blog www.fatdoctor.co.uk, says: “Good nutrition helps with immunity, brain function and mental health which will in turn help promote life longevity.”
Natasha went on to discuss how exercise can help improve life longevity:
“There is absolutely no question that leading a sedentary life is bad for you and exercise greatly improves your health. It does not just benefit your cardiovascular health but also your musculoskeletal system, your immune system and your mental health. It reduces your risk of heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and depression, to name a few.
It is important to point out that exercise needs to be both enjoyable and practical in order to make it a part of our everyday lives. Committing to working out in a gym for 2 hours a day, five times a week is not always feasible and easy to sustain.”
The Best Healthy Diets for Longevity
Four of the top 10 countries for life longevity are all Nordic, meaning the majority of their citizens will likely be following a Nordic diet. This diet, as well as being about food, calls for a certain lifestyle which includes relaxed meals with friends and family which use seasonal, locally sourced foods, combined with concern for protecting the environment.
There are 10 concepts which underpin the Nordic diet:
- Eat more fruits and vegetables every day.
- Eat more whole grains.
- Include more foods from the seas and lakes.
- Choose high-quality meat – but eat less meat overall.
- Seek out more food from wild landscapes.
- Use organic produce whenever possible.
- Avoid food additives.
- Base more meals on seasonal produce.
- Consume more home-cooked food.
- Produce less waste.
A Mediterranean diet is also said to be one of the healthiest and most fulfilling in the world, which corresponds with the research that shows all the Mediterranean countries are in the top half of the table. Experts have rated this diet the best in 2020, with a health score of 4.8.
Individuals from the Mediterranean tend to eat fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes, olive oil, and flavorful herbs and spices; fish and seafood at least a couple of times a week; and poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt in moderation, while saving sweets and red meat for special occasions. Red wine is also a feature of a Mediterranean lifestyle, along with lots of activity.
Sources and Methodology
In order to calculate the best countries for life longevity we analysed nine different health and happiness factors which were deemed important enough to contribute to overall life satisfaction and longevity, including average life expectancy, smoking rates, health grade, diabetes rates, obesity rates and life satisfaction.
To calculate health trends we looked at 48 different trends including different diets, physical exercise and health products. We looked at the monthly keyword search volume across the ten countries with the longest life expectancy in the world.
- Other population calculated through google search