If you’re looking to move overseas on a long-term basis, climate, economy, lifestyle and healthcare systems are of course very important factors to consider. Any of these things can hugely influence a person’s quality and length of life. The average life expectancy of a country might suggest a lot about its culture and factors that help guarantee a good quality of life, such as lower crime rates and good healthcare.
Packing up and moving abroad is obviously a daunting prospect for many of us, but for those with others to take care of, the feeling is surely multiplied. When deciding where to go, choosing a country that provides health benefits will be at the top of most wish lists.
A 20 year-long investigation called The Lancet Study claims that Spain has an average life expectancy of 81.4 years compared to 79.9 years in the UK. Only Italy has a better life expectancy at 81.5 years but there are less years of healthy life than in Spain. The World Health Organisation also reports that Spain, and in particular the area of Javea in Costa Blanca, has one of the healthiest climates with more recorded hours of sunshine per year than anywhere else in the country. In the UK we can only dream of that much sunshine, and the only time we can really bronze ourselves is when we go abroad… to places like Spain!
This following info-graphic looks at the top 10 healthiest countries to live in Europe.
Let’s have a look at the top three healthiest countries in more detail:
Spain is the healthiest place to live in Europe, according to research. The average life expectancy is 81.4 years, and 70.9 is the average number of years of a healthy life. According to the medical journal Lancet, this is two years longer than for people living in the UK.
The World Health Organisation claims that Spain has a “near perfect environment as it is possible to obtain”. As with the UK, anybody who officially resides in Spain may claim free healthcare.
And within Spain, according to The World Health Organisation, Javea is one of the healthiest climates to live in. It is protected from harsh winds in winter, which is good for keeping colds at bay, and it enjoys a unique microclimate that is regarded as one of the world’s healthiest. Average temperatures are 15°C during December and January, rising to an average of 30ºC in August so a property in Javea isn’t going to run up high heating bills. It also has more recorded hours of sunlight than any other place in Spain, which is great for vitamin D levels and keeping you cheerful!
Sunnier climates can also encourage healthier lifestyles. Long walks/hikes and bike rides, for example, are a lot more enjoyable under a bright blue sky, whereas cold and wet winters back in the UK make it all the more easier to stay indoors and pile on the pounds.
The Mediterranean diet also contributes to Spain’s longevity –it is very healthy, and the lower costs of fresh fruits and vegetables inevitably encourages a healthier and fresher diet.
The pace of life in Spain is a lot slower than in the UK, which may be good at keeping stress-related illnesses at bay, as well as lowering the possibility of stress-related behaviours such as excessive drinking and smoking.
The Mediterranean diet also contributes to Italy’s longevity. The diet is high in fresh fish, fruit, vegetables and olive oil. There are also less animal fats than there are in the British diet. The Italian attitude towards drinking is also different to the UK’s; a bottle of wine on the table at mealtimes is far more preferable to ten pints of lager and 6 tropical reefs down the pub. The Mediterranean diet also helps lower the risk of heart disease, which is the number one cause of death in the UK.
The Swedish government helps promote a healthy way of life amongst its people by actively encouraging a good work/life balance. Swedes also have a healthy diet full of fresh fish and omega fatty acids, which are great for the heart.
Are you an expat in Europe? What’s the health lifestyle like where you are?