As the founder of a wellness travel company, I'm on the road quite a bit and have experienced my fair share of ailments abroad.
In the mid-'90s, I left a potluck dinner party in London with a severe case of strep throat. I went to a local hospital and was promptly treated for free. On the other hand, I came down with a stomach bug in Indonesia and didn't even have access to clean water. It's experiences like these that have made me interested in the ways that countries around the world prioritize health and well-being.
Earlier this year, the UN General Assembly published the results from a 10-year comprehensive study, which determined a country's health by looking at 17 development goals, such as ending poverty in all its forms, promoting sustainable agriculture, and ensuring healthy lives for residents of all ages. Here's a look at what the three healthiest nations are doing differently.
From a publicly funded health care system to multiple sustainability efforts, Iceland tops the list of the world's healthiest countries. The country's sparse population means that its natural resources are relatively untouched and pristine, and 85 percent of its energy comes from renewable sources such as geothermal power stations, which means less reliance on fossil fuel. Not to mention, the 120 hot spring pools around the country, which have historical significance of positively affecting social, mental, and physical health.
Since 2005, Iceland has enforced strict smoking laws such a banning smoking entirely from schools and installing a ban on tobacco advertising. Its residents tend to eat diets that are packed with fresh fish, which have been shown to keep heart disease and inflammation at bay. Add all this together and you have a recipe for healthful, happy living. - Linden Schaffer
Want to know which countries came in at #2 and #3? Read my original article published on MindBodyGreen.