Nordic Healthcare: Why Scandinavians Are So Healthy?

Nordic Healthcare: Why Scandinavians Are So Healthy?

The Nordic countries have some of the world’s best healthcare systems. Norway, Denmark, and Sweden all rank among the world’s best countries for healthcare. There are various reasons why the Scandinavian healthcare system is so advanced – high-quality medical centers and hospitals, qualified and board-certified doctors, the government’s attitude to ensure that everyone can afford high-end treatments, and also the impressive Scandinavian life style that focuses on exercising, and eating healthy foods. Learn more about Nordic Healthcare: Why Scandinavians Are So Healthy?

Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Finland, Sweden, Greenland, Åland, and Faroe Islands make up the Scandinavian countries. Many believe that the Swedish health system is the best among them all. Health services in the other countries are also equally impressive.

Nordic Healthcare: Why Scandinavians Are So Healthy?
The Swedish system is mostly government-funded. It is decentralized and universal for all the citizens.

Let us take a deeper look to find out why the medical treatment and health system are so advanced and what makes the Nordic people so healthy.

History of Healthcare in Scandinavia
Like many European societies, the pre-modern healthcare of these countries was also mostly dependent on charities and churches at one time. After the Reformation, this became the responsibility of the local and national governments. There were no private hospitals. Mental health care, dental care and health insurance were all non-existent.

The 19th century for the first time gave us scientific medicine. The responsibility of public health began to be shared by public hospitals and private doctors for the first time. Local and national governments started to expand their roles. Health insurance was also introduced for the first time so that the common people could access health and medical care. However, the public hospitals and charities were still looking after most people. It was only in the early 20th-century that healthcare insurance became really accessible to most people, largely through public legislation. Life in Scandinavia became better as a result.

The structure if health care services have mostly remained unchanged since 1945. Patients select their physicians and the doctors work like gate-keepers, guiding them on whether hospitalization is required. People depend on hospitals for emergency care. There are on-call systems too for rapid access. Usually, the hospitals are the responsibility of regional health authorities or local governments. University teaching hospitals are partly under national control.

Nordic Healthcare: Why Scandinavians Are So Healthy?
The building blocks of personalization hero recangle.

In recent years, many private specialized hospitals have come up. They are becoming very popular as well. Now, there is private health insurance for dental and non-critical medical care too. Thanks to health management reforms carried out over the years, private companies can now make inroads into servicing and managing hospitals, particularly in Sweden. All this has improved the Scandinavian lifestyle and health of the people.

Cost of Healthcare
Health care in Scandinavian countries is publicly financed. This ensures that everyone has access to the region’s best medical facilities at no direct or minimal patient cost. Easy access, treatment, and also public health are the three important elements of the healthcare structure in these countries. These elements are all handled both at the local and national level by the Scandinavian health care system. It is the same throughout.

In Denmark, hospital treatment is free. If we carry out a Norway healthcare system overview and the ones in the other countries in the region, we will see that they follow an out-of-pocket co-payment system.

How does Sweden pay for healthcare? The Swedish system is mostly government-funded. It is decentralized and universal for all the citizens. However, there are also private medical care services. The country’s healthcare system is funded mostly through the collection of taxes, which is carried out by the municipalities and the councils.

Typically, anything between 75% and 85% financing comes from the tax revenues. There are patient co-payments too in Sweden. For instance, adult patients will have to share the cost towards prescription drugs. There is a cap on this for modest levels. It is waived for some chronic conditions and for those in the low-income group. Dental care is free for all children. For adults, however, this can be a major expense. For relief, there is private insurance for dental care.

The health care costs have gone up 6rapidle in the last few years in the region like in many other parts of the world. However, despite this, the overall economic burden has remained stable. In Iceland, for example, it is 8.5% as a share of the GDP whereas in Sweden it is 10.9%. This too is less because in the US it is around 40% more.

Health Professionals in Scandinavia
There are high-quality healthcare professionals in the Nordic countries, which ensure that people in the region have access to the best quality healthcare in the world. You will find many board-certified professionals with years of experience in every field, even in cosmetic procedures. For example, you can find more info about back coolsculpting, how the procedure works, its benefits, and the private clinics in the region for such treatments.

Nordic Healthcare: Why Scandinavians Are So Healthy?
Coolsculpting back

Scandinavian health care problems are ably taken care of by the professionals. This is why you will rarely find the citizens going to other countries to get treated. Most of them have complete trust on Nordic care.

Nordic Diet
One major reason why Nordic health is good is because of the diet the people follow. The diet is rooted in tradition. It goes back to the time of the Vikings and comprises of fresh natural foods. They eat nutrient-rich foods with a lot of vegetables like –

Brussels sprouts

The popular fish variety includes –

Dried salty cod

The region grows limited fruits. Thus, berries are the main source of fruits. Popular grains include barley, oats, and rye.

In Norway, people like to have their dinners early. They eat together as a family. Most people work between 8 and 4 in the afternoon and eat their dinner around 5 PM. They pick up the kids while returning from work and go home to eat their dinner together. It is the day’s biggest meal.

Nordic Healthcare: Why Scandinavians Are So Healthy?
Nordic diet. Photo: David B. Townsend/Unsplash

Active Lifestyle
The healthy Nordic lifestyle is also responsible for the good health of the citizens. Exercise is a way of life of the people. People work out regularly. 30% of Swedes and Danes regularly cycle to work. This is no ordinary achievement as many of them have to commute for around 8 miles.

Exercise and good health are also a part of the workplace culture. Almost all companies have health policies. Many also invest in exercise and healthy food for their employees. Many companies have their social sports groups that are into soccer, running, and biking. Other companies often pay their employees for the gym memberships.

Nordic Healthcare: Why Scandinavians Are So Healthy? A promotional article from

Feature image (on top): © JAFAR AHMED / Unsplash