Health

Study: Which Country Is The World's Healthiest?

| by Jonathan Wolfe

There are a few generally accepted ingredients required to live a happy, healthy lifestyle. An ideal work-leisure balance, a strong network of family and friends, and regular physical exercise are good places to start.  Which country’s residents most excel at incorporating these factors into their daily routines? Research firm GfK sought to find out.

GfK surveyed over 28,000 people in 23 countries about what they do to maintain their physical health. Participants were surveyed on a number of things, including sleep, work, exercise, and social habits.

The survey revealed a number of interesting cultural differences around the world. For starters, different cultures take vastly different approaches to maintaining health. Some put an emphasis on diet, others place the emphasis on sleep, and others on regular exercise. Here, courtesy of GfK, is a chart showing these different approaches:

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The survey also revealed differences in the way men and women approach physical health. On average, women take more steps to live healthily. Exercise is the only category in which men outperform women:

How well do U.S. citizens stack up against the rest of the world? Pretty well, actually. The only two health categories in which the U.S. falls below the international average are sleep and diet:

One thing to note about the study is that self-reporting was used. This explains why a country like Mexico, with one of the highest obesity rates in the world, self-reports with the highest exercise rate in the world. People in Mexico may consider certain activities exercise – like walking to the store – that people in more fit countries like Sweden wouldn't.

“The study reports what people are consciously doing regularly to maintain their physical health, so the findings reflect not only what activities people are doing, but also what activities they associate with being specifically for physical health,” a GfK spokesperson told MailOnline. “There will also be differences across countries in exactly what people think of as being ‘exercise’ or ‘healthy, nutritious food.'”

Sources: GfK, MailOnline / Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, UMC.org