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Spain has overtaken Italy to become the world’s healthiest country according to the Bloomberg World Health Index 2019.

The rest of the top ten in order consist of Iceland, Japan, Switzerland, Sweden, Australia, Singapore, Norway and Israel.

The index grades nations based on variables such as life expectancy while imposing penalties for countries with high risks such as tobacco use and obesity. It also considers access to clean water and sanitation.

Spain rose from sixth place in 2017, when the index was last published. France was 12th, Britain 19th and Germany 23rd.

In North America, Canada comes 16th with the US ranked 35th and Mexico 53rd.

China rose three places from 55th to 52nd. The countries making the biggest improvements on the previous index were South Korea – rising from 24th to 17th – Estonia rising six places from 38th to 32nd, and Albania, which rose from 50th to 43rd.

Some 169 states were included. Small states and those without adequate healthcare data were generally excluded.

Spain’s crowning will not surprise those who monitor life expectancy data.

Spanish lifespans to reach nearly 89 years

Last year, a study by the Seattle-based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation entitled How healthy will we be in 2040? suggested that Spain would place first in terms of life expectancy by 2040 with an average lifespan of 85.8 years), a rise from fourth in 2016 (average lifespan of 82.9 years).

Japan, ranked first in 2016 (average lifespan 83.7 years), will drop to second place in 2040 (average lifespan 85.7 years).

Singapore with an average lifespan 85.4 years came third. Switzerland came fourth with an average lifespan of 85.2 years and Portugal with an average lifespan pf 84.5 years coming fifth.

Italy came sixth, Israel seventh, France eighth, Luxembourg ninth and Australia tenth.

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