“Healthy countries” is not the most popular information subject for mass media. Newspapers usually write about viruses, diseases or epidemics threatening the whole region at once. The American magazine “Foreign Policy” has published the rating of the five healthiest countries and explained its choice.
On the whole, the Japanese live longer than representatives of other nations – their average lifetime makes up 86 years. The secret of the Japanese health consists in bodily exercise and food products with a low content of cholesterol. The Japanese diet includes fish, rice and sea-weed which lower the risk of heart diseases and cancer.
Fitness clubs have come in fashion in Japan. Sound health of several generations of this nation is maintained and improved due to a special state program which provides exercising before and during the workday. This program is financed by the Government.
The biggest Japanese mobile operator already offers “Fitness Phone”, a service of measuring daily physical exercise, to lovers of the advanced technologies.
Nowadays, population health is threatened by the “western” food with its traditionally high content of fat: 7 million of the Japanese are suffering from diabetes, which spreads in Asia quicker that in other parts of the world.
France has the lowest rate of heart diseases which are considered the main reason of mortality. Specialists explain this fact by slow eating and daily consumption of a glass of wine. The French cuisine is traditionally rich in fats and carbohydrates, but it is eaten slowly, a little at a time and washed down with a moderate amount of wine.
It is worth mentioning that in 2002 the World Health Organization declared France the healthiest country of the European Union. Despite the fact that many of the French die of cancer and other severe diseases, the average lifetime in France makes up 75 years for men and 83 years for women, and goes on increasing.
Nowadays, obesity is declared a major problem, and a high rate of mortality caused by cancer and cardiovascular diseases is registered in France. The leadership of this country concerning the low rate of cardiovascular diseases is running the risk of becoming a negative leadership.
Iceland has the lowest child mortality rate and the best antenatal care in the world. Figures speak for themselves: 2 deaths of children under five per one thousand of newborns. In the USA this rate makes up 7 children.
The Icelandic Government pays for a wide range of services of mother and child medical care. Besides, it assures maintenance of 80 per cent of the mother’s salary during three months.
However, nowadays the Icelandic population also suffers from obesity. The country annually consumes an enormous amount of sugar per capita, mainly due to an exaggerated passion for carbonated beverages.
Sweden may boast of the highest probability of survival in case of a cancer disease, as well as of an almost 100% rate of child immunization.
Almost 14% of the state expenses go to healthcare and make up 85% of expenses on medical care. Besides, the 9-million population is served in modern hospitals and clinics equipped with the latest medical equipment.
The Swedes believe that a comprehensive social assistance which provides everything from professional development support to street illumination lowers the population sickness rate.
There still is a problem of queuing: the Swedes have to wait for reception and operations. The attempts to transfer small medical institutions to private ownership do not result in any evident progress.
The island of freedom may rightly be proud of a low child mortality rate and a medium lifetime. The rate of six doctors per one thousand of Cubans is the highest rate in the world.
According to the experts, a big number of doctors cannot guarantee the population health, however, in Cuba it contributes to efficiency of measures on disease prevention. Thousands of Cuban doctors annually go abroad on study tours. Due to professionalism and the state support of healthcare Cuba achieves results even Europe may be envious of.
On the other hand, the focus on prevention and early diagnosis leads to the lack of drugs in the country. Besides, it is expected that openness of the Cuban society and increase in purchasing capacity of big layers of population shall stimulate the “import” of European and American diseases connected with dieting and food.
It is also worth mentioning that according to the Public Organization “March of Dimes” the healthiest countries from the genetic point of view are France, Austria, Australia, Switzerland and Russia.
8 million children with severe genetic defects are born every year. It makes up 6% of the total number of newborns. The number of newborns with severe genetic effects in the most developed countries makes up from 397 to 425 per 10.000 children.
The Russian rate makes up 429 per 10.000 newborns. The USA with its rate of 478 per 10.000 children occupies the 20th place, right after Cuba. The list is enclosed by Benin, Saudi Arabia and Sudan (from 779 to 820 per 10.000 newborns respectively). Among the post-Soviet countries the worst indicators are registered in Tajikistan (752), Kyrgyzstan (735) and Azerbaijan (631).
We should remember that our health is influenced not only by environment, the level of medical and genetic consulting and the healthcare level on the whole. A great deal depends on every one of us: his/her culture, education and lifestyle.