That Bloomberg sometimes releases reports which have more to do with Michael Bloomberg’s view of the world than the actual news is sad but true. This meaning that we’ve always got to check any claim made by that outlet. Check it to see what it is they’re really saying or measuring and test that against reality.
Which brings us to their Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index 2019. The problem here is as with their earlier, 2017, version. They’re double counting. They’re not in fact just measuring who is healthiest, they’re adding to that who they think ought to be, according to their own prejudices, healthiest. Which isn’t the way to do it, not if we want to be objective of course:
Europe is leading the world’s health standings with Mediterranean nations atop the list for 2019 . In new rankings, Europe takes up six of the top 10 spots with North American countries struggling. The US placed lower at 35th for 2019, five places behind Cuba which was the highest ranked non “high income” country on the list.
That’s what it says, sure enough, but that’s not quite reality.
Maybe it’s something in the gazpacho or paella, as Spain just surpassed Italy to become the world’s healthiest country. That’s according to the 2019 edition of the Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index, which ranks 169 economies according to factors that contribute to overall health.
That’s the why it’s not quite right. Looking at the 2017 rankings we find the following:
The Bloomberg Global Health Index takes a look at several of these factors to rank the healthiest (and unhealthiest) countries in the world. The factors that are used to rank the countries include: Health risks (tobacco use, high blood pressure, obesity)
Availability of clean water
Causes of death
No, that’s not the way to do it.
So, yes, tobacco kills, obesity shortens lifespans, dirty water kills tens of millions a year. They’re all entirely valid and viable measures of healthiness. So also is life span a useful measure. But to use both together is to be double counting. Whatever are the life shortening effects of tabs, deep fried mars bars and no booze they’re already going to be there in that life expectancy number. To then add in again is thus wrong.
Sad but true, Bloomberg is double counting here.