Let’s face it, if there’s one thing we all need to be mindful of in the modern age, it’s our physical and mental wellbeing.

From getting outside for a brisk walk or run to trying out the latest healthy recipes online, there’s a lot we can do to ensure we live long, happy, and healthy lives well into the future.

Of course, how easy this is to achieve depends a lot on where you live and your access to medical care.

It’s certainly safe to say that some countries in Europe have easier access to stunning countryside and far more cash to burn when it comes to health expenditure compared to others.

  • But which European countries can be considered the healthiest?
  • Is it those spending the most on their healthcare system?
  • Or is there more to what defines a country as healthy?

To find out, we ranked 35 European countries out of 100 based on numerous factors, such as obesity levels, healthcare expenditure, and depressive symptoms, to see which ranked top for overall health.

With that in mind, here are Europe’s healthiest countries.

Europe’s 5 healthiest countries

While you might expect many of Europe’s big players to fill the top spots when determining the healthiest countries in Europe - places such as Germany, Sweden, and the UK - according to our data this isn’t the case.

1. Cyprus

Based on all our factors, it seems the healthiest country in Europe is the little island of Cyprus - and it’s not hard to see why.

With an overall score of 69.27 out of 100, Cyprus ranks 3rd lowest for obesity levels (11.4) as well as placing 3rd for overall self-perceived health (45.5).

Not only that, but Cyprus came in 2nd overall for the least work leave absences (14.2). All this while having the 7th lowest healthcare expenditure in Europe.

2. Portugal

After Cyprus, we have Portugal, which had the 2nd highest health care expenditure in total at €915.71 million, landing them an overall score of 66.25.

They also came in 7th for gym searches on Google (6.4 per person) and 13th for work leave absences (26.1).

In fact, Portugal placed high for most factors, hence landing such a high-ranking spot.

3. Albania

In third, and perhaps quite surprisingly, we have Albania, which garnered an overall score of 61.

This is in large part to ranking number 1 for self-perceived health (54.1), as well as ranking 8th lowest for regular bodily pain (7.6) and long-term illnesses (26.6).

This is all while still having one of Europe’s lowest life expectancies with a score of 61.7.

4. Ireland

As for our fourth country, we come to Ireland, which ranked 5th lowest for regular body pain (5.4) and 5th highest for life expectancy with a score of 80.5.

On top of this, they came in 4th for self-perceived health (41.9), all of which contributed to their excellent total score of 60.18, and this is despite coming 30th for obesity with a score of 21.1.

5. Bosnia

Finally, in fifth, we have Bosnia. Boasting an overall score of 59.76, Bosnia ranked 3rd
for healthcare expenditure at €912.42 million, 7th lowest for regular body pain (7.6), and 7th lowest for long-term illnesses (26.6).

Again, like Albania, this is all despite a low life-expectancy score of 61.7.

Healthiest european countries desktop

Europe’s unhealthiest countries

Now that we know what Europe’s healthiest countries are, what about those that ranked bottom of our list overall?

Well, unfortunately, the position of last in our rankings goes to Turkey, with an overall score of just 25.73, and coming 31st for obesity (21.1) and joint last for life expectancy with Albania, Bosnia, and the UK at 61.7.

Just above Turkey in 35th, we have Hungary, which scored 30.27 out of 100. Even so, they came in even lower for obesity, placing 35th with a score of 23.9, and only being beaten by Malta which has a score of 28.1.

Add to this the fact that they came in bottom for depressive symptoms at 10.4 and it’s no real surprise that Hungary placed so low.

Lastly, in 34th, we have Poland. With a score of just 32.53 in total, Poland at least ranks in the middle for obesity, coming in 25th (18.5), but is let down by its poor healthcare expenditure, which saw it sitting in 32nd at just €110.84 million.

European countries with the longest life expectancy

If there’s one factor that can indicate just how healthy a country is, it’s the life expectancy of those living there. And as our overall rankings show, Ireland has already claimed the fifth spot in this list.

But which countries took the other 4 spots?

Well, in 1st place came Iceland, with a life expectancy score of 81.8, followed closely by Sweden in second (81.7), and Norway in third with an expectancy score of 81.3.

Interestingly though, the fourth spot was claimed by Malta (80.8), even though it ranked lowest when it came to obesity levels.

Europe’s most depressed countries

As important as physical health is, it's also just as important to maintain your mental wellbeing as well.

Sadly, this can sometimes be much harder to do, and there are certainly some countries where depressive symptoms seem to be more common than others.

As we noted earlier, Hungary ranked highest for depressive symptoms with a score of 10.4. However, and perhaps surprisingly, they are only slightly ahead of Portugal, which had a score of 10.2.

Not only that, but Sweden came third highest (9.1), despite having such a good life expectancy.

This is also the case for Iceland, which ranked 4th with a score of 8.7, with the list being wrapped up by the UK in 5th (8.3), even though they had the fifth highest self-perception of health at 33.1.

The countries with the lowest long-standing illnesses

Finally, let’s take a quick look at those countries which experience the lowest levels of continual long-standing illnesses - a factor that has received very little mention so far but for good reason.

First and foremost, we have Italy, which holds a score of 17.3 out of 100. This was then closely followed by Bulgaria and Romania, which held scores of 18.6 and 19.7 respectively.

After them came Luxembourg at 21, and wrapping up the top 5 was Greece, with a score of 23.9.

As you’ve no doubt noticed none of these countries were in our top 5, nor were they mentioned in any of our other sections, clearly showing that there is more to staying healthy than looking at healthcare expenditure and obesity ratings.

Summary

And there you have it, those are Europe’s healthiest countries.

It’s clear from our data that there is no one factor that determines whether a country can be classed as healthy, and at the end of the day, whether or not you live into your twilight years will be determined by your own approach to healthy eating and exercise.

However, one thing you can do to help ensure your family are protected against factors outside of your control is to secure life insurance.

From income protection to family life insurance, our team is here to give you the peace of mind you need, no matter what life throws your way. Get in touch today to find out more about how we can help you.

Sources:

All index data (excluding Google searches), was taken from https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/health/ database on 1/12/2023

Google Searches for ‘gym near me’ and ‘healthy recipes’ - true as of -1/12/2023: taken from Google keyword planner

Country specific Google search data was then divided by the country’s total reach on Google keyword planner to get a balanced and legitimate result

Methodology disclaimer: If no data was available from Eurostat, we took at average across Europe

If data for 2023 wasn't available on Eurostat, we took the most up to date data

Index factors include: obesity levels, self perceived health levels, life expectancy, total healthcare expenditure, absence from work due to health, depressive symptoms, levels of bodily pain, long standing illnesses, google searches for ‘gym near me’ and ‘healthy recipes

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