Beirut: Lebanon is the healthiest Arab country, according to the Bloomberg 2017 Healthiest Country Index.
While Italy came in first among the 163 ranked countries, Lebanese came in at 32, perhaps because of its similar Mediterrean cuisine offerings.
The renowned Lebanese cuisine includes an abundance of grains and the traditional anise-based drink known as Arak.
Moreover, and with limited consumption of animal fats, Lebanese cuisine uses copious amounts of olive oil, lemon juice and garlic, all important components of a healthy diet.
Aside from its cuisine, Lebanon provides excellent health care—boasting an impressive 9 medical schools for a country of only 8 million.
Around 350 physician graduates enter the Lebanese labour market each year, with 4,581 doctors registered with the Lebanese Order of Physicians (LOP) between 2000 and 2014 in Beirut alone.
According Antoine Boustany, the head of the Order, Lebanon fielded one physician for every 350 citizens, way ahead of the World Health Organisation’s recommended ‘one doctor for every 1,200 inhabitants’.
Bloomberg graded all 163 countries based on variables such as life expectancy, causes of death and health risks ranging from high blood pressure and tobacco use to malnutrition and the availability of clean water as well.
Following Italy was: Iceland, Switzerland, Singapore, Australia, Spain, Japan, Sweden, Israel and Luxembourg.
Qatar was the second healthiest among Arab countries (36) followed by Bahrain (40), the UAE (43) and Oman (48).
Most of the developed world carried the heavy risk of obesity, with the US placing at number 34.