A small country in the Mediterranean holds the secret to a long life – Executive Digest

Climate, diet, health and, above all, better economic resources and means: these, combined, appear to be the main factors guaranteeing the highest average life expectancy in advanced economies. Bathed in the Mediterranean Sea, Monaco may claim the title of world leader in 'eternal youth' according to the latest update of the 'CIA World Factbook', according to Spanish newspaper 'El Economista'.

The average life expectancy in the tiny principality is nearly 90 years (89.6 years), distributed between 93.6 for women and 85.8 for men. Below are several Asian countries with very high per capita incomes, such as Singapore, Macau and Japan, all of which have life expectancies between 85 and 86 years. In Europe, the best examples are in Spain, Italy, Malta and San Marino, which appear in the top 20 of the list.

But if there is something that distinguishes Monaco, it is its wealth: its GDP per capita exceeds 240 thousand dollars, more than the richest countries such as Liechtenstein (190 thousand dollars) or Luxembourg (125 thousand dollars). Not surprisingly, the OECD has highlighted the close correlation between GDP per capita and life expectancy.

High income levels allow the region to have a healthcare system unparalleled in the world: Monaco offers its more than 38 thousand citizens a public healthcare system with state funding and highly qualified doctors, thanks to the highest salaries in the sector. .

Anyone working in Monaco is automatically covered by the local social security system. Most healthcare services in Monaco are publicly funded, meaning they are almost free or available at a very affordable cost to residents. However, compulsory social security schemes do not cover occupational accidents or illnesses, which are only covered by private international medical insurance.

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Monaco has a number of hospitals and clinics, including the 'Princess Grace Hospital', a state-of-the-art health centre: Principal, where you can find doctors educated in the best medical schools, not just in France. But in other European countries, thanks to higher salaries.

In addition, Monaco has implemented prevention programs to encourage residents to adopt a healthy lifestyle, such as awareness campaigns on nutrition and exercise. According to the medical insurance company 'MSH', all this contributes to making Monaco one of the healthiest and safest places to live and work in Europe.

With such a small territory and only 38 thousand inhabitants, comparing its health indices with other countries loses some meaning. However, few companies provide comparative data on Monaco. According to the World Bank, the country with the most doctors per 1,000 citizens (after Cuba), 7.8. On the other hand, this country has 13.8 hospital beds for every 1,000 people, the highest ratio in the world. All this, combined with a temperate climate, almost year-round sun and a Mediterranean lifestyle (food, air quality, sports…) culminates in the perfect combination to reach almost 90 years of age.

And let's not forget food: a 2023 study conducted by the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, jointly conducted by the Autonomous University of Madrid and the Harvard School of Public Health, examined the habits of residents of Mediterranean countries and concluded that food is essential to achieve longevity. Healthy life.

The Mediterranean diet, which examines the traditional cuisines of 21 countries bordering the Mediterranean, including Italy, Greece, Croatia, Turkey, and Monaco, is rich in fresh vegetables, fruits, fish, nuts, and whole grains. This diet includes a high intake of some lean proteins like fish and chicken, fresh produce and, of course, antioxidant-rich olive oil. In addition to diet, the researchers identified a “Mediterranean lifestyle” that promotes adequate rest, more physical activity and socialization, thanks to a more favorable climate for activities.

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In the case of Monaco, while its high income and per capita wealth make a difference, the Mediterranean lifestyle is the perfect complement to put the princeling at the forefront of life expectancy. Countries such as Malta, Italy or Spain also feature in the 20 countries with the highest life expectancy, although not in the 20 countries with the highest per capita income in the world. So, Monaco's case is an almost insurmountable combination: wealth, lifestyle and quality healthcare.

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