What makes a healthy country: Singapore

Embarking on the expat lifestyle offers the opportunity to live healthier than back at home. From getting a little Eat, Pray, Love in Bali to munching on the Mediterranean diet, living abroad lets you ditch the processed food and the big city smog and instead live your best life.

But with so many countries boasting about their delicious dishes and long life expectancies, where exactly is the healthiest country in the world? We intend to find out! This week, we’re taking a look at the supposed healthiest country in the world: Singapore.

Culture

At 82.14 years, Singapore has one of the highest life expectancies in the world. But how did it get that way? One argument is that Singaporeans take pride in their country and follow the rules. Many people have heard of the country’s infamous ban on chewing gum and although the ban was not implemented for health reasons, their dedication to looking after their country could also apply to how they care for their bodies.

People in Singapore often work long hours and although you may think that this would be detrimental to their health, when surveyed, three in four Singaporean workers claimed that taking pride in their work raised their self-confidence in and out of the workplace.

Healthcare

While we know that the people of Singapore look after their country, it is also evident that their country looks after them. Singapore operates under a ‘3M’ system, offering government funded health insurance and a compulsory health savings scheme. Because of this, healthcare is easily accessible, with the government funding about 32% of the country’s healthcare.

Diet

Food is a huge part of Singaporean culture and dining is often considered a national pastime. Their cuisine is heavily influenced by many other cultures, with inspiration coming from other Asian cultures such as China and India and spreading to include more Eurasian dishes from the Western world. Although varied, Singaporean cuisine involves lots of rice and vegetables – a dietary choice favoured by health conscious people worldwide. Singapore also has a huge variety of fruit available year round, including what is considered the ‘King of Fruits’, the durian. Rojak, a salad of fruits and vegetables, is also popular in the country – particularly with pregnant woman! Maybe this is why Singapore has held the title of lowest infant mortality rate for over two decades now?

Although you may not picture a bustling metropolis such as Singapore to be so health conscious, they are defying the odds. Despite being such a modern country, they are topping the UN’s Human Development Index ratings by remaining consistently high in categories such as life expectancy, health care, and quality of life. It may not have the white, sandy beaches of Indonesia, but Singapore can definitely offer expats a healthy lifestyle.

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Rosy Parrish

Rosy Parrish grew up in Britain and now lives in Madrid. She divides her time between teaching English, writing about expat life, and befriending dogs in the street.

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