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Spain falls from 7th healthiest country to 23rd in the world
SPAIN is no longer in the top 10 healthiest countries in the world, having plunged to number 23 from seventh place in the last year, according to the science and medical magazine The Lancet.
Out of 188 countries, Spain used to be healthier than 181 of them, but has plummeted 16 places in 12 months – largely due to its levels of smoking, alcohol consumption and childhood obesity.
Rankings are based upon 37 criteria within the framework of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Objectives for 2030, the first-ever exhaustive analysis of health and lifestyle trends between 1990 and 2016.
Since last year, the criteria has expanded and now includes availability of vaccinations, physical and sexual violence, child sex abuse and the death rate.
Spain's overall score is a very creditable 74%, but this has fallen from 82% in 2016 – mainly due to alcohol consumption levels.
Last year, drinking issues scored 57 out of 100 – the higher the percentage, the better the situation – but has since dropped to just 10 out of 100.
Smoking rates have also contributed to Spain's drastic decline: last year, at 47%, still below the 'pass mark', has got worse and now sits at 25%.
Overweight and obese children were responsible for Spain's worst 'grade' in 2016, at 33 out of 100 – and although the ranking in this area is still poor at 36, it has at least shown a tiny improvement.
Two other 'fails' or 'near-fails' for Spain are HIV and AIDS, scoring 51 out of 100 – albeit better than last year's 49 points – and child sex abuse, at 49 out of 100.
This said, Spain scores the maximum points available – 100 each – in 11 categories: deaths through natural disasters, arrested infant development, tropical disease incidence, violence against women, drinking water conditions, sanitation, hygiene, air pollution, death through armed conflict or terrorism, and the prevalence of sexual and psychological violence.
Based upon the full UN criteria, the healthiest countries in the world now are Singapore at the top with 87 points out of 100, and Iceland and Sweden, who tie for second place with 86 points.
And the least healthy countries in the world are, jointly, Somalia, the Central African Republic (CAR) and Afghanistan, with just 11 points out of 100 each.
The research concludes that 'a great deal of progress' is needed at global level to enable all countries in the world – or at least, the 188 studied – to reach the UN's Sustainable Development Objectives in terms of health by the year 2030.
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