Today I decided to research the “healthiest” country in the world. According to 24/7 Wall St.’s health rankings, Qatar (country located in the middle east) was ranked the healthiest country in the world. I found it interesting that the basic parameters used to determine the healthiest country came down to 4 subcategories: (1) Life Expectancy, (2) Infant mortality rate, (3) Health expenditure per capita, (4) Unemployment rate.
Let’s look at each component briefly:
(1) After reading this article, I realized we don’t have a universal definition of the term “good health”. According to the article, a long life expectancy was a defining parameter of good health. Technology today has certainly helped increase the longevity of living, but is this a real measure of good health? Is a person being kept alive on life support considered in “good health” if this technology kept them alive beyond an average life expectancy?
(2) The article also mentioned that, “Qatar took steps to protect its citizens from diseases with 99% of children receiving the DPT and measles vaccines.” Their infant mortality rate ranked 7th in the world. The United States has a vaccine compliance rate exceeding 95% with substantially more vaccines provided yet ranked 169th in infant mortality rates. Regardless of opinions on vaccines, the infant mortality rates are factual numbers. Should infant mortality rates be included in determining the “good health” of a country?
(3) The third factor was per capita spending. The article reported that there were 7.7 physicians per 1000 people in Qatar. It certainly makes sense that increased ratios of doctors to patients regarding emergency disease care would prevent more people from dying, but would that mean stabilizing and maintaining chronic disease is a measure of “good health?” Qatar spent $2,029 per person (25th highest in the world). Does increased medical expenditure correlate with “good health?” The United States spent the most per capita ($8,895 per person) yet was ranked worse than 33 other nations.
(4) The final measurement was unemployment. Qatar had the second lowest unemployment rate at just 0.5%. In the United States, the unemployment rate dropped from 10+% to 5+% during the Obama administration. Millions of Americans were able to return to the workforce yet the health status of our citizens had not shown any statistical improvement as a result of increased employment.
In looking at all the parameters, the conclusions reached seem questionable. It should also be noted that Qatar had the second highest obesity rate in the world. Since obesity has been classified a disease, how can this country be ranked as the “healthiest country in the world when it ranked 2nd in the world in obesity?
In my opinion, Good Health should be defined as:
“a quality of life achieved by sustaining balance among physical, nutritional, emotional and spiritual needs.”
This definition places the responsibility of good health on each of us. It should be the role of professional healthcare providers to educate the public and assist in times of distress, rather than seen as the “providers of health.”
Statistics will never create “good health.” Good health” will ONLY BE ACHIEVED when each of us is willing to focus on our comprehensive needs in life. Most people wait for advanced diseases before implementing these changes. The healthcare model relies on this attitude.
If you are willing to accept my definition of “Good Health”,
what changes have you made (or are you willing to make) in your life to achieve GOOD HEALTH!
SIDE NOTE: Please don’t forget to read and SIGN the following petition highlighted in BLUE (if you agree with it) if you haven’t already done so. It doesn’t matter what country you reside in. Everyone will benefit as a result. Thank you.