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Mediterranean Diet Benefits: Italians Healthiest People In The World, Global Health Index Finds

22 March 2017, 6:34 am EDT By Alexandra Lozovschi Tech Times
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The Global Health Index results are in, and Italians rank first as the world's healthiest people, according to Bloomberg.

The secret to their longevity seems to reside in their approach to nutrition, as a Mediterranean diet based on pasta, bread, cheese, lean meat, and wine has them living well into their 80s.

The Italians' high consumption of fresh vegetables and fruits, which make it to the plate every day, also accounts for the nation's vigorous health and low mortality rates. Another magical ingredient found in abundance in Italian cuisine in olive oil, which has great benefits for cardiovascular health.

Surprisingly enough, although studies have shown a balanced diet can make us happy, Italy didn't fare so well in the United Nations' World Happiness Report for 2017, where the country only managed to rank in at No. 48 out of 155.

The Italians' unhappy disposition may be caused by their stagnant economy and high youth unemployment rate. Nevertheless, the stress of financial struggles doesn't seem to affect their longevity.

US Came In At No. 34 Because Of Obesity

The Global Health Index, calculated each year by Bloomberg, assessed population health in 163 countries. The index bases its ranking on a "health score" that evaluates life expectancy at different ages, mortality rates due to illness or injury, and survival contingency at critical times.

Each country also received penalty points determined by unhealthy factors - such as smoking, overweight and obesity, and improper childhood nutrition - as well as environmental conditions, for instance pollution and limited access to potable water.

The overall calculations led to a "health grade." Italy scored the highest, with a grade of 93.11. The second ranking position was claimed by Iceland with a health grade of 91.21, while third place went to Switzerland, which scored a total of 90.75 points. Singapore and Australia also made it to the top five, managing to accumulate 90.23 and 89.24 points respectively.

At the opposite pole stand Slovakia (65.10), Barbados (64.14), Oman (62.89), and Panama (62.39), while Albania ranked at the bottom of the index, with 62.01 points.

The United States managed to score a total of 73.05 points, ranking in at No. 34. According to Bloomberg, the nation's "ranking for prevalence of overweight people is 67.3 - tipping the scale as one of the world's heaviest nations." The country's health score was also affected by maternal mortality rates, which - although curtailing worldwide - are increasing in the United States.

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