Living a long, healthy life has been made possible thanks in part to modern medicine.
But the factors behind longevity are more complex than just access to quality health care. Genetics, lifestyle and even where a person lives can all impact the length of a person’s life.
Longevity is often studied so scientists can uncover the secrets to those who seem to have unlocked the fountain of youth. Certain areas of the world boast the longest life spans, and scientists study these areas for clues.
In 2016, the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Survey studied the health of populations around the world. In the criteria, WEF ranked countries in terms of the average life expectancy – indicating where people live the longest. While developed countries certainly made the list, there was some offset in the numbers based on high rates of mental health issues that may lead to suicide.
Overall, the following countries ranked high in average life expectancy. People interested in living longer may want to adopt some of their citizens’ lifestyle habits to live long lives.
Monaco: The second smallest country in the world boasts quite a high life expectancy, with people living an average of 89.7 years. Nearby France has the lowest obesity rate in the world, possibly helping people to live long, healthy lives.
Hong Kong: This country off the coast of China has a high longevity rate with people living an average of 84 years. Steamed food, practicing tai chi and drinking tea may contribute to a long life.
Japan: In this Asian nation, people live 83.6 years on average. Again, a healthy diet rich in seafood and active lifestyles may be the secret.
Spain: The Spanish dine on the famed Mediterranean diet, which is rich in fresh vegetables, fish and healthy fats. Spaniards live on average 83.1 years.
Switzerland and Italy: Low poverty levels make a good diet more readily available to much of the Swiss and Italian populations. Diverse topography that can push physical exertion also may help those in Switzerland and Italy live to 82.8 and 82.7 years, respectively.
The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency also tracks life expectancy rates for nations around the world. The United States does not crack the top 20. The CIA puts America at number 50 on its list, with people living an average of 78.4 years. The World Bank shows that Canadians fare better than Americans, with an average life span of 82.1 years.