The survey ranks 169 economies worldwide according to factors that contribute to the population's overall health; including life expectancy, eating habits and environmental factors such as access to clean water and sanitation.
According to United Nations data, Spain has the highest life expectancy at birth among European Union nations, trailing only slightly behind Japan and Switzerland globally. By 2040, Spain is forecasted to have the highest lifespan in the world at almost 86 years, followed by Japan, Singapore and Switzerland, according to the University of Washington's Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation.
Researchers suggest eating habits as key factors to the health levels enjoyed by the Spanish and Italians. Notably, a Mediterranean diet with high levels of extra-virgin olive oil or nuts had a "lower rate of major cardiovascular events than those assigned to a reduced-fat diet", according to a study led by the University of Navarra Medical School.
The Spanish population was found to have lower levels of heart disease, and higher cancer survival rates due to the state's primary care system which provides preventive services to children, women and elderly patients. Spain has seen a significant decline in cardiovascular diseases and deaths from cancer over the last decade.
Four additional European nations were among the top 10 in 2019, with Iceland in third place, Switzerland in fifth and Sweden and Norway in sixth and ninth place. Japan is ranked the healthiest Asian nation, jumping three places from Bloomberg's 2017 survey. Australia and Israel joined the top 10 at seventh and tenth place.