The medical journal, Lancet
, states that according to the European League Table, which is comprised of data collected over a 20 year period, the healthiest place to live in Europe is Spain, which also beats many other countries in the world.
The country ranks number one for life expectancy with an average of 81.4 years, which is two years longer than people living in the UK. Spaniards' years in good health are also higher at 70.9 compared to 68.6 years in Britain. In fact the UK is way down the list in 12th place, behind Greece, Ireland and Germany.
The BBC quotes Professor John Newton, chief knowledge officer of Public Health England, as saying, "Despite some enviable recent success, for example on smoking, we in the UK need to take a hard look at what can be done to help people in the UK achieve the levels of health already enjoyed by other some countries. Central and local government, charities, employers and retail businesses all have a part to play."
The US isn't doing too well either, and is listed at number 17, with on average 67.9 healthy years and a life expectancy of 78.2 years.
Lancet has attributed a combination of factors to Spain leading in the results, including healthy eating (with the Mediterranean diet), the warmer climate and more walking.
also said that the fact that Spanish families still care for ailing relatives is probably a major factor, with relatives taking daily meals to those in hospital. They say that premature deaths from falls are also low.
lists the full table of countries in order of healthy years and life expectancy at the end of their article. However, taking the top six healthiest countries we can see:
1. Spain: average healthy years - 70.9; life expectancy - 81.4
2. Italy: average healthy years - 70.2; life expectancy - 81.5
3. Australia: average healthy years - 70.1; life expectancy - 81.5
4. Sweden: average healthy years - 69.6; life expectancy - 81.4
5. Canada: average healthy years - 69.6; life expectancy - 80.6
6. France: average healthy years - 69.5; life expectancy - 80.9