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Big isn’t necessarily best: Smaller nations are becoming healthiest, says wellness index


New York, March 4: While the world and its financial brains remain mostly obsessed with nations and their booming economies, a new pattern is slowly emerging that intends to find out how happy, healthy and successful human beings are depending on the places they live.

Big isn’t necessarily best: Smaller nations are becoming healthiest, says wellness index

According to a report in Bloomberg, smaller nations have come to dominate the list of countries with global wellness and while the big and booming economies have fallen behind.

As per a new analysis, the Global Wellness Index published by investment firm LetterOne, Canada has been ranked as the best country out of 151 while its southern neighbour United States is at a distance at No. 37. South Africa finished last, even behind nations like Ukraine, Egypt and Iraq.

The new index is based on various metrics ranging from government healthcare spending to rates of depression, use of alcohol, smoking, happiness and exercise and it is the latest effort by economists to evaluate the globe beyond economic growth.

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In February, Bloomberg's own research named Spain as the world's healthiest nation.

"A common thread in both surveys, and others like them, is that the top ranks are increasingly filled with smaller countries. This may be tied to researchers developing new metrics for the modern world, measures that don't necessarily correlate economic health with actual health-let alone wellness-at the expense of other, more nuanced barometers," the report said.

Richard Davies, a former Bank of England and UK Treasury economist who was behind compiling the index, was quoted as saying by Bloomberg: "The old concerns about growth-that it does not include every country, or every person in growing countries-are ever present."

The index ranked Canada high because of its good scores for blood pressure, life expectancy and spending in government healthcare besides the country's high happiness levels.

Several big economies struggled in competing against smaller and healthier nations. Countries like Oman, Iceland, Maldives, Netherlands and Singapore found themselves in the global top 10 nations.

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