Life expectancy varies drastically between the 224 countries on the life expectancy index. If you reside in Monaco, you’re likely to reach 89 years of age, whereas residents of Chad will on average, only make it to 49. We’re going to explore the key variables that are at play in the top five nations on the index.
Monaco Average Life Expectancy: 89.52 Years
It comes as no surprise that one of the wealthiest countries in the world has the highest life expectancy. Rather than diet being a big factor compared to others in the top five, Monaco’s high life expectancy has more to do with incredible health care and big bank balances.
One in three citizens of Monaco is a millionaire, an absence of income tax probably goes some distance towards avoiding the life shortening secret assassin that is stress. We don’t really associate stress with damaging our health as much as we should (stressception), but recent psychological studies highlight that an increased heart rate and blood pressure due to psychological fatigue definitely does contribute to our mortality. Whilst a lack of income tax probably isn’t life or death for most people, it must be considered that 28% of Western millennials suffer from some form of financial anxiety, and this factor is significantly smaller in Monaco.
Monaco switches income tax with a more general state revenue that yields a much higher amount of money per head than neighbouring nations, and this affords residents an excellent healthcare system that quite clearly contributes to the 4.78 year chasm between Monaco and the nation that secures second place on this list.
Japan Average Life Expectancy: 84.74 Years
Japan is the hero of this list because compared to the other four countries, its high life expectancy doesn’t converge with being high on the International GDP list. Japan’s high life expectancy sets an example that most people could follow if they tried to. A healthy diet is the greatest factor behind Japan’s success here, and you don’t need to have a lot of money to follow the example set.
Eating smaller dishes more regularly is good for the metabolic system and assures that nutrients from fresh produce are travelling around the body more frequently. A lack of processed fats and cane sugar is a big plus and the use of fresh vegetables in most dishes is something we should all try to emulate. It feels quite basic to point out, but eating fresh, unprocessed foods and minimising the dairy intake increases our lifespans and is an adjustment that most of us could manage.
Singapore Average Life Expectancy: 84.68 Years
Singapore has a very healthy culture. Health awareness is spread through the schooling system to children from an early age. Employers often give out additional health insurance to employees and frequently promote sporting events such as marathons. Frankly, in a place like Singapore it is hard to spot an obese person, and government policies highly discourage smoking as well.
An incredibly high population density means that whilst you’re going to be living in a shoebox with plumbing, a range of doctors, well-equipped hospitals and health-related Government subsidies are all within close range. If someone suffers a life-threatening illness or is in an accident, the waiting time for diagnosis/operation is vastly reduced by these variables.
Macau Average Life Expectancy: 84.51 Years
A colony of Portugal up until 1999, Macau resumed Chinese sovereignty and has evolved into one of the wealthiest regions in the past decade. The success behind Macau’s economic growth falls to the tourism and gambling industries. Macau’s gambling revenue has skyrocketed since 2001, and even surpassed Las Vegas as the world’s biggest gaming market in 2006. So are some lucky spins in the slot machine of living the reason behind Macau having the fourth highest life expectancy in the world?
Despite being a dense, urban area that paints an initial images of exhaust fumes and poor air quality, the 31 square kilometres of Macau are situated in a sub-tropical climate in which only one in two residents uses a personal vehicle.
They aren’t gambling with their healthcare system either; whilst Macau is tiny, there are several state-of-the-art medical facilities within the city. Combine this with their Portuguese-Asian fusion diet, that again focuses on fresh fish and vegetables, and you get a healthy population. Macau cuisine is possibly the best thing that the 16th century Portuguese conquest to spread Christianity in the east has ever produced! A plate of Macanese Codfish or eternity beyond the pearly white gates? Get me a fork.
San Marino Average Life Expectancy: 83.24 Years
If you’re a male in San Marino, you have the highest male life expectancy in the world of 81. Another micro nation that falls into pretty much the same categories as Monaco, Singapore and Macau in that it is a fairly wealthy nation per capita. The key variable that separates San Marino from others on this list is a booming services industry, meaning life expectancy isn’t decreased by manually arduous tasks. It’s also worth noting the incredibly high physician-to-patient ratio of 6.4:1000, so citizens of San Marino are covered very well medically.
San Marino is landlocked by Italy and shares a similar diet in which processed food isn’t really a thing, and cooking from fresh is still widely practiced. The country also boasts a state budget surplus and no national debt, meaning more money to fund and drink the good wine that the statelet produces.
The top five countries with the highest life expectancies give us two real variables that are consistently seen in all of the examples above. Get rich and settle in a place like Monaco or Singapore. They provide excellent health care systems, but to accumulate the wealth required is unobtainable for most people, and this is where countries like Japan, Macau and San Marino paint better examples for us all to follow.
A healthy diet is something that we can all do if we put some time aside to cook. Japan leads the way in showing us all that what we feed our bodies directly affects our bodies. This is a lesson that needs to be relearned, as it’s something that has been lost in many nations that could do better.