New study suggests SA is the w

Photo: Pixabay

New study suggests SA is the world’s ‘unhealthiest country’

A new study found South Africa to be ‘unhealthiest country’ in the world, after scoring poorly for life expectancy and rates of premature death.

New study suggests SA is the w

Photo: Pixabay

 A new study conducted by the insurance comparison website Compare The Market, which ranked the healthiest and unhealthiest countries – all part of the Organisation for Economic and Co-operation Development, found that South Africa is the ‘unhealthiest country’ in the world.

The world’s ‘unhealthiest country’

After Numbeo found that six SA cities are in the top 20 list of the ‘most dangerous cities in the world’, South Africans might be shocked at the news that they are not only living in some of the most dangerous parts of the world but in the ‘unhealthiest country’ too.

“The research looks at factors including life expectancy, prevalence of smoking, alcohol consumption, adult obesity and vaccination rates. An overall weighted score was then created and each country was ranked,” said Compare The Market according to Sowetan Live.

South Africa ultimately topped the list of unhealthy countries, followed by Brazil and Indonesia. Russia and the US also feature on the unhealthy list.

South African health statistics

SA’s health statistics were also revealed as part of the study:

  • life expectancy at birth – 63.9 years;
  • prevalence of current tobacco smoking – 31.4%
  • alcohol consumption – 7.3 number of litres of pure alcohol sold per person aged 15+ 
  • prevalence of obesity among adults – 28.3%;
  • vaccination rates – 81%;
  • prevalence of insufficient physical activity among adults – 38.2%;
  • probability of premature death – 26.2%; and
  • population using at least basic drinking water services – 80.68%.

The ‘healthiest country’ in the world

In comparison, the study found Japan is the world’s healthiest country and has the highest life expectancy at 84.2 years, low rates of obesity (4.3%) and alcohol consumption (7.2%), and high vaccination rates (94.5%).

Its overall score was 79.02, compared to SA’s 23.33, all out of 100.

The study further revealed that China has the largest physically active adult population, with only 14.1% of adults deemed to be insufficiently physical active.

All Nordic countries in the top 10 have 100% of the population using at least basic drinking water.

A separate study, The Indigo Wellness Index, which tracks the health and wellness status of 151 countries, also found South Africans were dangerously unhealthy and ranked SA the unhealthiest country in the world in 2019. Meanwhile, in 2016, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated 28.3% of adults in South Africa were obese. This was the highest obesity rate for the sub-Saharan African countries recorded by the WHO.