5 Reasons Why Scandinavia Is One Of The Healthiest Regions In The World

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5 Reasons Why Scandinavia Is One Of The Healthiest Regions In The World

Many factors contribute to a country being healthy or unhealthy. Good health is more than expensive supplements and fruit juices. Generally, the healthiest countries are developed, have access to quality healthcare and clean drinking water and have lower rates of pollution. Read about the 5 Reasons why Scandinavia is one of the healthiest regions in the world.

The Bloomberg Global Health Index 2019 ranks 169 of the healthiest and unhealthiest economies in the world; Using a variety of factors each country is given a rating out of a possible top score of 100. Sweden and Norway are two of the Top 10 countries in the world. In addition, Norway has some of the world’s longest-living people. Let’s dive into some possible reasons:

Norwegians spend as much time outside as possible, Photo: Aaron Blanco Tejedor1. Friluftsliv (Outdoor life)
Norwegians spend as much time outside as possible. In spite of much rain, or that the sun doesn’t even rise for three months in the northern part, Norwegians are still dedicated to the cause of getting outside. “Bad weather doesn’t exist – only bad clothing,” they say. They know outdoor life will improve their mood, mental health and emotional well-being.

it is customary in Sweden and Norway to have a “stuga” or “hytte” in the countryside, where they spend family time in pure, unadulterated nature. Most Norwegians and Swedes enjoy the sense of freedom and the naturally good feeling of growing up picking berries and wild flowers in the forests and mountains. Fishing, mushroom hunting, hiking, canoeing, kayaking and swimming in the lakes are good memories for most Scandinavian adults.

Related: Comparing Nordic Healthcare Systems: Similarities And Differences 

5 Reasons Why Scandinavia Is One Of The Healthiest Regions In The World
According to the Bloomberg report, outdoor exercise is more popular than indoor gyms in each of the countries ranked 1 through 5. Photo: Colin Moldenhauer

2. Outdoor exercise
According to the Bloomberg report, outdoor exercise is more popular than indoor gyms in each of the countries ranked 1 through 5. The healthiest countries have a variety of traditional indoor and outdoor exercise activity options, but to add to this they also maximize the movement in everyday activities such as walking to the store, working in a garden, riding a bike to work, and family strolls just for fun.

5 Reasons Why Scandinavia Is One Of The Healthiest Regions In The World
Overall health and well-being is largely determined by what one eats. Photo: Louis Hanset /MIPD

3. Diet
Overall health and well-being is largely determined by what one eats. Scandinavians (and in particular the Swedes and Norwegians) has managed to refrain from the conveniences of the Western style diet to stay true to more traditional culinary traditions over the passing years. They consume diets that include considerably fewer processed foods that are lower in unhealthy fats while being higher in fruits, vegetables, fiber, and lean proteins.

Dinner is served early in Norway, and eating together as a family is important. Families in Norway usually eat at 5 p.m., since most people work from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. After getting off of work, most families pick up their kids from school and then go home to eat their biggest meal of the day.

Related: 6 Scandinavian Health Philosophies We Should All Embrace 

5 Reasons Why Scandinavia Is One Of The Healthiest Regions In The World
The Norwegian government introduced a sugar tax almost a century ago. Photo: Rod Long

4. A dedicated government
In a bid to keep the nation as healthy as possible, the Norwegian government introduced a sugar tax almost a century ago. The government vowed to reduce the country’s sugar consumption by 12.5% by 2021. Within the last ten years, there was a 27% decline in sugar consumption and the Norwegians consume far less sugar than the rest of the world, at 27 kg every year, whereas America’s consumption is 34 kg.

5 Reasons Why Scandinavia Is One Of The Healthiest Regions In The World
On a survey by Internations, Norway is ranked the 3rd best country regarding work-life balance. Photo: LinkedIn Sales Solutions

5. Work-life balance
On a survey by Internations, Norway is ranked the 3rd best country regarding work-life balance. Expats in Norway are highly satisfied with their work-life balance (72%) and their working hours (77%). In fact, they only spend an average of 42.9 hours per week at work, which is 1.4 hours less than expats in full-time jobs worldwide (44.3 h).

Norwegians take their relaxation just as seriously as their work. Offices rarely stay open after 4 p.m. Working on weekends or overtime is quite literally unheard of in Scandinavia (and in particular in Norway). It is neither valued nor deemed necessary. In most countries, people live to work. In Norway, they work to live. Family takes priority over staying at the office. Employers are required by law to offer 25 paid vacation days per year, plus public holidays. It is thereby common in Norway to take off an entire month in the summer. During this time, business slows down and people rarely check emails.

Related: How To Use A Historical Scandinavian Favorite: Honey

According to the Bloomberg report, the top 10 healthiest countries by population for 2020 are: Spain, Italy, Iceland, Japan, Switzerland, Sweden, Australia, Singapore, Norway and Israel.

Due to the government’s continuing efforts to make unhealthy snacks and drinks unappealing to the nation, Norway has proudly ranked in the top 10 healthiest nations for many years.

5 Reasons Why Scandinavia Is One Of The Healthiest Regions In The World, written by Tor Kjolberg

All images © Unsplash

Feature image (on top): Photo by Andreas Zillner / Unsplash

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