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Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Smaller countries tend to outperform booming economies in wellness, lifestyle health

Smaller countries tend to outperform booming economies in wellness, lifestyle health index: A new report from investment firm LetterOne has found that high-GDP countries tend to fall behind in terms of lifestyle and wellness, with many small countries with emerging economies such as Oman, Bahrain, Thailand, Honduras, and Laos making it to the top 25 spots in the Global Wellness Index. The ranking — which relies on metrics such as life expectancy, blood glucose levels, happiness, and exercise — indicates that countries with a strong economy and high levels of government spending on healthcare services do not necessarily boast healthy lifestyles, “with rich countries experiencing high rates of depression and obesity.”

The (surprising) winners and losers: Although Canada sits at the top of the ranking, and Nordic countries such as Norway and Sweden also score near the top, many developed countries do not fare as well. The US and Japan, for instance, “score surprisingly low, and sit outside the top 25, held back by poor scores on obesity and blood pressure. The UK, with the fifth highest GDP ranking globally, comes in at 16th place, while the Maldives comes in at fourth place despite having a lower GDP ranking of 169th place.” Egypt doesn’t fare very well due to high rates of obesity and blood pressure and its poor score on life expectancy, but beats out South Africa, whose economy the report notes was growing at impressive rates at the turn of the millennium.

This ranking is not the first to find this surprising inverse correlation between wealth and wellness, but lends further credence to the shift in the conventional wisdom on the relationship between the two indicators. The International Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress found in a study published 10 years ago that GDP is a deeply flawed metric of social progress, and the OECD Better Life Index published last year discourages reliance on GDP as the sole indicator of social welfare.

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