THE INDIGO WELLBEING INDEX
The Indigo Wellness Index tracks the world’s healthiest countries across ten key measures. The Index is one of the first comprehensive global wellness indices to be published, covering over 150 countries, compared to the existing OECD index, which aggregates data from fewer than 50 countries. The Indigo Wellness Index draws on findings as diverse as the World Health Organisation, the World Happiness Report, and public health data.
The Indigo Wellness Index focuses on ten key metrics: Blood pressure, Blood glucose, obesity, depression, happiness, alcohol use, tobacco use, exercise, healthy life expectancy, and government spending on healthcare. Canada scores highest in the ranking, with Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden also coming near the top – whilst the UK only ranks at 16.The US and Japan also score surprisingly low, and sit outside the top 25, held back by poor scores on obesity and blood pressure.The UK, with the fifth highest GDP ranking globally, comes in at 16th place, while the Maldives comes in at fourth place despite having a lower GDP ranking of 169th place.
HIGHEST AND LOWEST SCORES: CANADA VS SOUTH AFRICA
HIGHEST AND LOWEST SCORES VS THE UK
HIGHEST AND LOWEST SCORES VS THE U.S.
GLOBAL HEALTH INDEX: THE TOP 25 COUNTRIES
The chart below shows the Top 25 countries in the Indigo Wellness Index, across the ten health-related metrics. A striking observation is the finding that while rich countries tend to lead the Index, there are many emerging economies that are doing better than advanced nations.This reflects the huge increases in life expectancy in these countries in recent years, and the poor scores for depression and obesity that advanced countries like the United States receive.
The below chart shows the Top 25 countries in the Indigo Wellness Index, with Canada at the top on the right hand side, and the average rankings (from 0.0 - 1) underneath.The countries are scored across ten different indicators, including lifestyle habits and health factors.The indicators are grouped according to a traffic light system, with a poor score (<0.3) receiving a red dot, a fair score (0.3 - 0.5) receiving a yellow dot, and a good score (0.5+) receiving a green dot.
This chart shows clearly that although there are countries in the Top 25 and in the G20 with a high GDP (and hence high healthcare spending), this does not translate into positive lifestyle factors, with rich countries experiencing high rates of depression and obesity.
Average ranking for top 25 countries (where 1 = best)
Average ranking for top 25 countries: Traffic lights system
GLOBAL HEALTH INDEX: G20 COUNTRIES AND 20 MOST POPULOUS COUNTRIES
These two charts show the Indigo Wellbeing Index across the G20 nations, as well as across the 20 most populous countries in a circular radar chart. These economies are important since they are growth markets, and many have geopolitical importance.
Across the 20 most populous countries outside of the G20, there is a huge disparity in performance.The best performing country of this group is the Philippines, which ranks highly due to low levels of obesity and depression.
The bottom of this group includes Egypt (poor score on obesity, blood glucose and life expectancy), Iraq, and Ukraine (poor rankings for depression and blood pressure).
In particular, the very poor scores for countries like South Africa – an economy lauded for its growth rate in the 2000s – shows that simply ranking an economy based on traditional economic metrics like GDP can miss important parts of the story.