scorecardThe 20 most unhealthy countries on earth, ranked
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The 20 most unhealthy countries on earth, ranked

The 20 most unhealthy countries on earth, ranked
LifeThelife2 min read

bridgetown barbados

RUBEN M RAMOS / Shutterstock

A street bar at a bus terminal in Bridgetown, Barbados.

  • A new global health ranking has identified the most unhealthy countries in the world.
  • The ranking is based on 10 measures: healthy life expectancy, blood pressure, blood glucose (diabetes risk), obesity, depression, happiness, alcohol use, tobacco use, inactivity (too little exercise), and government spending on healthcare.
  • Countries most people consider to be idyllic, such as Saint Lucia and Barbados, ranked poorly, which comes down to poor diet and lack of exercise.

A new global health ranking has identified the world's healthiest - and most unhealthy - countries in 2019.

The Indigo Wellness Index, compiled and led by Richard Davies at economics consultancy Bloomsbury Economics and published by investment business LetterOne in the new journal Global Perspectives, is one of the most comprehensive to date, covering 191 countries across the globe.

The Index created a series of rankings based on 10 key measures, ordering the countries from the weakest performers (ranked 1) to the strongest (ranked, for example, 191).

The 10 measures were healthy life expectancy, blood pressure, blood glucose (diabetes risk), obesity, depression, happiness, alcohol use, tobacco use, inactivity (too little exercise), and government spending on healthcare.

It then calculated a ratio to asses how close each country is to the best score overall - the worst score is 0, while the best score is 1.

Read more: RANKED: The 19 best countries to live in if you're a woman

While Canada came out on top as the most healthy country, war-torn sub-Saharan African countries were some of the worst performers. Perhaps more surprising, though, are the poor rankings for countries most people consider to be idyllic, such as Saint Lucia and Barbados, which, the data shows, comes down to poor diet and lack of exercise.

Scroll down to see the most unhealthy countries in the world, ranked in ascending order.

Note: Countries where data was missing on more than one measure (including South Sudan, Palau, Niue, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, Bahamas, Equatorial Guinea, and Libya) were excluded from the final index, which features 151 countries, 68 of which had all 10 measures available, and 83 of which had 9 measures available. The final ranking accounts for over 95% of the world's population.

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