Spaniards are healthiest people in world, Bloomberg reports
Surprise, surprise: The U.S. isn't even close to the top of the list.
- Bloomberg recently released its annual index of the world's healthiest countries, which it compiles by grading countries on factors such as smoking rates, access to clean water, obesity, sanitation and more.
- Spain topped the list this year — thanks in part to the nation's healthy Mediterranean diet, the report suggested.
- The U.S. ranked 35th, likely due in part to poor American eating habits.
Spain — with its Mediterranean diet and high life expectancy — is the world's healthiest country, according to the Bloomberg 2019 Healthiest Country Index.
The last gauge, published in 2017, ranked Spain in sixth. Bloomberg's annual index measures variables such as obesity, smoking rates, alcohol use, childhood malnutrition, sanitation and clean water. This year, five European nations scored spots on the top 10 list. Meanwhile, the U.S. ranked 35th.
What makes Spain the healthiest country? One likely factor is its universal healthcare system.
"Primary care is essentially provided by public providers, specialized family doctors and staff nurses, who provide preventive services to children, women and elderly patients, and acute and chronic care," according to the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies 2018 review of Spain.
Another reason might be the aforementioned Mediterranean diet, which includes olive oil, vegetables, nuts and fruits; moderate amounts of fish, wine and dairy products; and low consumption of non-fish meat. Sticking to this heart-healthy diet is associated with a longer lifespan and fewer major cardiovascular events. But, to be sure, some say it's not just about the ingredients.
Image source: Pixabay
"The Mediterranean diet is much more than a healthy gastronomic recommendation," says Spain's official tourism website. "It is a way of life that involves preparing food traditionally and enjoying it with friends and family, in a calm and relaxed environment. This is why it has been awarded the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage designation."
In terms of life expectancy at birth, Spain ranks first in the European Union and third globally, behind Japan and Switzerland. By 2040, Spain's life expectancy is projected to hit nearly 86 years, the highest in the world, according to the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
Image source: Bloomberg
The next nations on the list are Iceland, Japan, Switzerland and Italy, which this year dropped from the top spot. Still, it's worth noting that it's hard to accurately gauge the healthiness of nations and the results of various indexes vary when they use different methodologies. The Legatum Prosperity Index 2018, for instance, found that Spain ranked 22 on its list of the world's healthiest countries (Singapore was number one).
But interestingly, one thing those two indexes did agree on was that the U.S. isn't a particularly healthy country — both ranked it 35th.
Why is the U.S. lagging behind?
One clear factor is diet. Nearly half of Americans suffer from some kind of chronic disease as a result of poor diet, including heart disease and type 2, according to the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans report. What's more, an astounding two-thirds of American adults and almost one-third of children are overweight or obese. These rates are tied in part to the prevalence of processed and otherwise cheap and unhealthy foods in the U.S.
Unlike the Spaniards, however, there's really no generally observed American diet, though we do tend to eat more fast food and fewer vegetables (unless you count potatoes and tomatoes) than other developed countries — though our taste for fast food has in recent decades spread to other nations, particularly in Asia. But perhaps the worst trait of Americans' eating habits is eating enormous portions — something you can actually see in the increased size of dinnerware since the 1960s.
"It's a long-standing principle in America that we're a land of plenty and we value bigness," sociologist Barry Glassner, author of The Gospel of Food: Why We Should Stop Worrying and Enjoy What We Eat, told the Chicago Tribune. "That's coupled with a very common American interpretation of what counts as value. Getting more for less is something that we tend to think is a good thing."In addition to diet, Americans have in recent years been dying more frequently of suicide and drug overdoses. The U.S. opioid epidemic is also steadily getting worse, with the nonprofit National Safety Council reporting in January that more Americans now die from opioids than car accidents.
Famous physicists like Richard Feynman think 137 holds the answers to the Universe.
- The fine structure constant has mystified scientists since the 1800s.
- The number 1/137 might hold the clues to the Grand Unified Theory.
- Relativity, electromagnetism and quantum mechanics are unified by the number.
Younger Americans support expanding the Supreme Court and serious political reforms, says new poll.
- Americans under 40 largely favor major political reforms, finds a new survey.
- The poll revealed that most would want to expand the Supreme Court, impose terms limits, and make it easier to vote.
- Millennials are more liberal and reform-centered than Generation Z.
A 2020 study published in the journal of Psychological Science explores the idea that fake news can actually help you remember real facts better.
- In 2019, researchers at Stanford Engineering analyzed the spread of fake news as if it were a strain of Ebola. They adapted a model for understanding diseases that can infect a person more than once to better understand how fake news spreads and gains traction.
- A new study published in 2020 explores the idea that fake news can actually help you remember real facts better.
- "These findings demonstrate one situation in which misinformation reminders can diminish the negative effects of fake-news exposure in the short term," researchers on the project explained.
Previous studies on misinformation have already paved the way to a better understanding<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDU1NzQ4NC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNjE2Mjg1Nn0.hs_xHktN1KXUDVoWpHIVBI2sMJy6aRK6tvBVFkqmYjk/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C800%2C0%2C823&height=700" id="fc135" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="246bb1920c0f40ccb15e123914de1ab1" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="fake news concept of misinformation and fake news in the media" />
How does misinformation spread?
Credit: Visual Generation on Shutterstock<p><strong>What is the "continued-influence" effect?</strong></p><p>A challenge in using corrections effectively is that repeating the misinformation can have negative consequences. Research on this effect (referred to as "continued-influence") has shown that information presented as factual that is later deemed false can still contaminate memory and reasoning. The persistence of the continued-influence effect has led researchers to generally recommend avoiding repeating misinformation. </p><p>"Repetition increases familiarity and believability of misinformation," <a href="https://engineering.stanford.edu/magazine/article/how-fake-news-spreads-real-virus" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the study explains</a>.</p><p><strong>What is the "familiarity-backfire" effect?</strong></p><p>Studies of this effect have shown that increasing misinformation familiarity through extra exposure to it leads to misattributions of fluency when the context of said information cannot be recalled. <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0956797620952797#" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">A 2017 study</a> examined this effect in myth correction. Subjects rated beliefs in facts and myths of unclear veracity. Then, the facts were affirmed and myths corrected and subjects again made belief ratings. The results suggested a role for familiarity but the myth beliefs remained below pre-manipulation levels. </p>