“Health and happiness” is a bracha most people hope and strive for, and two new reports indicate that Israelis have them in copious amounts. A report by Bloomberg News ranks Israel as the ninth-healthiest country in the world, while a report issued on the occasion of World Happiness Day (celebrated Monday) has Israel as number 11 among 165 countries for happiness.
On the health front, the Bloomberg Global Health Index gives Israel an overall “health score” of 92.47, based on factors such as quality of care, access to doctors, number of hospital beds, availability of medication, life expectancy, access to clean water, and other issues. On the other hand, Israel lost points (4.33) because of health and lifestyle problems, including overeating, and health risks ranging from high blood pressure and tobacco use to malnutrition and the availability of clean water. Israel’s overall score was 88.14, ahead of nearly all of Europe, and far ahead of the U.S., which scored only 34th in the rankings, with 73.05.
Italy, with a score of 93.11, is the healthiest country in the world, said Bloomberg. “Italians are in way better shape than Americans, Canadians and Brits, who all suffer from higher blood pressure and cholesterol and poorer mental health,” the report says. The U.S., meanwhile, despite its wealth of health care, is “one of the world’s heaviest nations,” and as such cannot be considered “healthy.”
Israel also does very well in the factors that make up a happy life – income, healthy life expectancy, having someone to count on in times of trouble, generosity, freedom and trust, with the latter measured by the absence of corruption in business and government. – according to the report by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and funded by the Ernesto Illy Foundation.
Money is important for happiness, but it can’t buy that commodity, as the old saying goes: The U.S. is still among the world’s wealthiest nations, ranking third for wealth among OECD countries, but only 19th for happiness. Happiest in the world, according to the report, are residents of Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland and Finland.