The Kingdom of Bahrain has been ranked first in the Arab region as the healthiest country. The Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index has also ranked the Kingdom of Bahrain 36th in the world, moving up by 4 positions, compared with 2017.
High rates of diabetes, obesity and a lack of focus on preventative medicine have been blamed after Gulf countries slumped in a global health ranking.
The Bloomberg Healthiest Countries Index, published this week, showed no Arab nation in the top 35, despite the region’s significant wealth. Six of the top 10 nations were European, with Spain overtaking Italy as the world’s healthiest country.
Japan, Australia, Singapore and Israel made up the rest of the leading 10 nations, with less developed countries such as Cuba and Malta even making the top 30.
The rankings, which are based on wide-ranging factors including life expectancy, obesity and mortality rates and physical activity levels, saw the UAE fall three places from its 2017 position, making it the 46th healthiest country out of 169.
Kuwait, meanwhile, fell by 22 places – the second-steepest drop recorded – to 78th. It tied with Saudi Arabia, which recorded a fall of six places compared to the 2017 table.
Studies have found that the Mediterranean diet, high in fruit, vegetables, fish and low in red meat, may help explain the high life expectancy in Spain and Italy.
A strong health system in Cuba, as well as a focus on preventative medicine there, was credited with its relatively strong performance, given its wealth.
Bloomberg gives countries a ‘health score’ out of 100 based on factors including life expectancy and child mortality levels.
A ‘penalty’ score, calculated on factors such as smoking levels, high cholesterol, mental health provision and air quality, is then subtracted from the total.
Of the 30 unhealthiest nations on Earth, 27 were Sub-Saharan economies. Yemen, Afghanistan and Haiti were the others.
Source: The National