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The Healthiest People in the World

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The Healthiest People In The World ... And How They Got That Way

Obesity is one of the great public health threats of modernity. At Best Public Health Schools, we decided to explore the obesity epidemic in a positive way by looking at the examples of healthiest people in the world.

A healthy country is one where infant mortality rates are low and life expectancy is high, indicating a robust and healthy population. Where are the healthiest countries in the world? Who are the healthiest people, and what are their secrets to staying that way? Take a bite out of world health and learn about the characteristics of healthy people and nations.

5 Countries with the Healthiest People in the World

1. Iceland
a. Life expectancy: 79 for men 83 for women
b. 3.2 deaths per 1,000 live births
c. Ranked healthiest country in the world by Forbes Magazine

2. Japan
a. Life expectancy: 79 for men 86 for women
b. 3.2 deaths per 1,000 live births
c. Japan is the largest consumer of fish in the world

3. Sweden
a. Life expectancy: 78 for men 83 for women
b. 2.9 deaths per 1,000 live births
c. Instead of using oil, Swedish people prefer to poach, ferment, smoke and dry their foods

4. New Zealand
a. Life expectancy: 78 for men 82 for women
b. 5.3 deaths per 1,000 live births
c. Many New Zealanders grow their own fruits and vegetables

5. Finland
a. Life expectancy: 76 for men 82 for women
b. 3.7 deaths per 1,000 live births
c. People in Finland rarely eat meat, and get their protein from fish and tofu

The World's Oldest Man and Woman

Jiroemon Kimura, 115: The World's Oldest Man
Birthdate: April 19, 1897
Country of origin: Japan
Secret to longevity: Eats small portions of red bean cake and rice with meals three times each day

Besse Cooper, 115: The World's Oldest Woman
Birthdate: August 26, 1896
Country of origin: United States
Secret to longevity: "I mind my own business and I don't eat junk food."

Healthy Lifestyle Habits from the World's Healthiest Humans

Move
- Walking is the main mode of transportation in the world's healthiest countries
- Moderate daily activity reaps the most benefits, and may be better for your body than high-intensity exercise
- Other good examples: Gardening, Playing with children, Walking a dog

Know Your Purpose
- Having a meaningful reason to get out of bed can help reduce stress and ward off disease
- Studies show people who retire early often see a decline in their health and higher mortality rates than those who work

Decompress the Stress
- People who live in healthy countries report less stress
- Slow down
- Prioritize sleep
- Take vacations
- Schedule calm time: meditation, bathing, hobbying

Follow the 80% Rule
- Stop eating when you're 80% full. Wait 10 minutes, then reassess your hunger
- Prevents overeating
- Increases mind body connection

Eat a Natural Diet
- People in healthy countries eat less processed food and more local, fresh, natural food than Americans
- Limit processed foods, sweets and unnatural fats like margarine
- Prepare more of your food from fresh, local sources
- Fat is ok if it comes from a plant or animal (but not a factory!)
- Drink plenty of water and herbal teas (and avoid sodas)
- Herbal teas act as diuretics, lower blood pressure, and prevent heart disease

Drink Red Wine--in Moderation
- Red wine is high in powerful antioxidants that help fight cancer, reduce inflammation, and lower cholesterol
- Drink red wine consistently, but don't overdo it--no more than a glass or two a day

Belong to a Healthy Social Network (Not the Online Kind)
- A strong and supportive social system is key to reducing stress and living a healthy life
- There is a strong biological link between social connection and how well our bodies function
- In 1995 the average American had three close friends--that number is down to two
- Focus on face-to-face interaction instead of online interaction to boost your health



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