20 Most Unhealthiest Countries In the World

In this article we will evaluate the 20 most unhealthiest countries in the world. You can skip our comprehensive discussion of these countries and go directly to the 5 Most Unhealthiest Countries In the World.

The term “unhealthy” can be interpreted in several different ways; a country could be labeled as unhealthy due to a number of reasons such as high pollution, poor healthcare system, insufficient availability of drinking water, child and infant mortality rates, or low life expectancy rates. The current ranking in the article is based on the following factors: pollution, blood glucose level, mental health, obesity, alcohol use, smoking, inactivity, healthy life expectancy, maternal mortality ratio, blood pressure, waste management, and government spending on healthcare. Health has always been a primary concern for the United Nations and the World Health Organization. The need for healthy living surpasses the need for employment for the United Nations.

In current times, with the pandemic and associated challenges still upon us, being a resident of one of the unhealthiest countries in the world is even more threatening to one’s life. Moreover, with businesses that offer innovative services such as lowering the level of pollution, offering nicotine-free alternatives, weight management, and decreasing water pollution, governments have no sound excuse as to why their countries remain in the ranking for unhealthiest in the world. However developed nations can easily access health supplements, exercises services, clean diet and food as compared to the third world. For example, in the U.S, Herbalife Nutrition Ltd (NYSE: HLF) offers its customers herbal solutions to lose weight and counter obesity in addition to herbal supplements to neutralize nutrient deficiencies. Companies like Waste Management (NYSE: WM) and Clean Harbors, Inc. (NYSE: CLH) offer waste disposal services that treat hazardous waste and lower the impact of waste on the environment.

Obesity and High Blood Pressure

The most noteworthy factor concerning the topic is the alarming rates by which health parameters are deteriorating. Although general principal dictates that countries would take notice of their poor health statistics and take action accordingly, facts reveal that the opposite is more common. For instance, the number of annual deaths due to air pollution in India have grown steadily from one million in the year 2005 to 1.24 million in 2017, displaying an increase of 2% annually. Moreover, high blood pressure took the lives of 958,299 Indian residents in 2005, whereas the statistic was 1.54 million in 2017; increasing on average by more than 5% per year. Additionally, one of the leading causes of death in China is obesity and sedentary lifestyle, which has shown a year-on-year increase of 7.7% from 429,163 in 2005 to 823,869 in 2017.

most unhealthiest countries in the world

Image by Tania Dimas from Pixabay

With this context in mind, let’s start our list of the 20 most unhealthiest countries in the world.

Most of the data used in this article is taken from Our World In Data.

Most Unhealthiest Countries In the World

20. The Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is one of the unhealthiest countries due to its high alcohol consumption, tobacco consumption, and obesity, all of which are some of the most common reasons of death in the state. The consumption of pure alcohol is calculated as 14.4 liters per person per year in Czechia. Moreover, more than 20% of the whole population smokes, making it the 11th in the ranking for highest number of cigarettes smoked annually. In 2016, 34.3% of all its residents aged 15 and older reportedly smoked tobacco products, which took the lives of 20,642 residents the same year. About 26% of its residents were obese in 2016, and it caused the death of 15,810 individuals in 2016.

19. Grand Duchy of Luxembourg

Luxembourg has an annual statistic of 13 liters of alcohol consumed per person in 2016, making it the fifth most common reason for deaths in the country. Moreover, 22.6 percent of all its residents were reportedly obese in 2016, and obesity accounted for 423 deaths the same year. About 23.5% of its residents over the age of 15 used tobacco in 2016, which made it the second most common reason for deaths, taking the lives of 661 people that year. High blood pressure and high blood sugar were also among the three most common reasons for deaths in the country, taking 760 and 645 lives respectively.

18. Bangladesh

Bangladesh is a fairly polluted country with citizens having respiratory as well as cardiovascular diseases, making it one of the unhealthiest nations worldwide. Cardiovascular diseases took 320,462 lives in 2017, equating to 36.13% of the total lives lost. Air pollution took 122,734 lives in 2017 in the country, making it one of the most polluted countries in the world. High blood sugar and smoking were also high risk factors for deaths.

17. Republic of Nauru

Another country ranking high on the unhealthiest lifestyles is Nauru. 61% of all its residents were obese in 2016, while 40% of all residents aged 15 and above were users of tobacco products. The life expectancy in the country was calculated to be 59.8 years in 2019, one of the lowest worldwide. The country’s government should invite businesses that specialize in weight loss and healthy lifestyles such as Medifast, Inc. (NYSE: MED) to expand into their state so as to benefit their residents who are used to sedentary lifestyles. Moreover, the government could also encourage startups such as Weight Watchers International Inc (NASDAQ: WW) in order to encourage its residents to adopt healthier lifestyles.

16. The Russian Federation

High blood pressure, obesity, smoking, and heavy drinking is common in Russia. The unhealthy lifestyle of its residents has made high blood pressure the most common reason for death in the country by far, with 562,933 deaths followed by 301,068 due to smoking, 268,420 by obesity, 257,066 due to high blood sugar, and 189,865 deaths owed to alcohol use. Companies such as Tate & Lyle PLC (LON: TATE) that offer sugar alternatives should expand to Russia in order to manage and improve the health of the country’s general population.

Moreover, air pollution is high in Russia, leading to 136,900 deaths in 2015. This signifies that the country must encourage companies such as Montrose Environmental Group, Inc. (NYSE: MEG) to offer their air purification and environment sustainability services in Russia. Alternatively, the country could fund startups that offer air purification services for vehicles and industries alike.

15. Lithuania

The country has one of the highest mental disorder rates in the world, with 364,856 in 2016. Consequently 12% of its population suffered from substance use disorders in 2017. Each individual in the country over 15 years of age consumes 15 liters of alcohol a year, making it one of the highest worldwide. Moreover, 28.8% of the population aged 15 and higher use tobacco products. It is hence no wonder that high blood pressure is the highest reason for deaths in the country; it took 14,130 lives in 2017, with obesity being the reason for 5,984 deaths, and smoking for 5,642. All three of these factors can be associated with poor mental health, which is apparently a widespread issue in the country.

14. Samoa

Samoa has one of the highest obesity rates in the world, as 47.3% of the whole country’s population was obese in 2016, and 17.78% of all deaths were attributed to obesity that year. Moreover, high blood sugar has been the highest cause of death since 2010 to 2016, followed consistently each year by high blood pressure and obesity. Companies such as Nature’s Sunshine Products, Inc. (NASDAQ: NATR) should expand into Samoa as the majority of the country’s population would present as target customers for the companies.

13. Somalia

Somalia is a country riddled with disease and death. In 2017, 30,950 people were HIV infected, and 2,393 had succumbed to the illness. The maternal mortality ratio in the country was 732 per 100,000 live births in 2015, one of the highest worldwide. The illnesses that have been wiped out from developed countries are very much present in Somalia, as in 2017, 7,945 children lost their lives to lower respiratory infections, 6,681 to diarrheal diseases, 5.631 to measles, 427 to malaria, and 391 to HIV/AIDS. The child mortality rate by income was recorded as 12.72% in Somalia for the year 2017, which was the absolute highest worldwide. In 2016, 13.3% of all children died before reaching the age of five. Notwithstanding, the most deaths in the country in 2017 were due to child wasting, which were recorded as 16,087, with air pollution as the second highest factor, taking 12,357 lives.

12. Ethiopia

Health issues in Ethiopia include the high maternal mortality rate of 353 per 100,000 live births as in 2015. In 2016, 19.1 of all deaths in Ethiopia were caused by maternal illnesses, neonatal illnesses, and communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, HIV/AIDS, and diseases related to nutrition. In 2017, 657,390 people were living with AIDS, and 17,181 people died because of it. This signifies that Ethiopia is still battling diseases that most developed and developing have been able to eradicate, which is not surprising as the government spent a mere 4.88% of the country’s GDP towards healthcare as of 2014. Moreover, the air in Ethiopia is highly polluted, as it caused the deaths of 40,614 people in 2017. Furthermore, Ethiopia is in the ranking for the unhealthiest country due to the unavailability of safe drinking water; 47,812 people lost their lives due to lack of access to clean water and sanitation. Ethiopia needs initiatives that purify water for daily use and drinking purposes such as 3M Company (NYSE: MMM) so as to alleviate their most basic health issues.

11. Moldova

Moldova is a country weighed by both unhealthy lifestyle choices and high air pollution. The country is among the highest in alcohol consumption, as the average consumption by each resident over the age of 15 is 15.2 liters as in 2016. Moreover, the country is plagued by high blood pressure as it is the most common cause of death, taking the lives of 15,719 people in 2017. In addition to physical maladies, 484,256 residents of Moldova suffer from mental health disorders. The air pollution in Moldova is high enough to take 2,787 lives in 2017, primarily due to vehicle emissions, power generation, and food manufacturing.

10. Croatia

Croatia has one of the highest ranks for tobacco consumption, as 37% of its population over 15 years of age used tobacco products in 2016. Moreover, 24.4% of the country’s population was obese in 2017, which caused 13.88% of total deaths in the same year. High blood pressure causes the most deaths in the country; it took 14,096 lives in 2017. Heart diseases are common in the country, as 45.74% of all deaths in Croatia in 2017 were attributed to heart diseases. The country requires businesses such as Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY) that provide cardiovascular care medicines for the country’s affected population.

9. India

India ranks the highest in the world for air pollution, which is the second highest cause of death in the country. In 2017, 1.24 million people died due to air pollution, second only to the 1.54 million who succumbed to high blood pressure. Moreover, high blood sugar led to one million deaths in the country, signifying the unhealthy eating habits of Indians. Smoking was another common attribute in deaths of Indian residents, taking 894,372 deaths in 2017. The country requires medications such as Amlodipine by Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) for its huge population that suffers from high blood pressure and Wellbutrin offered by GlaxoSmithKline plc (NYSE: GSK) to manage its high population of smokers.

8. South Africa

South Africa is one of the unhealthiest countries in the world, due partly to obesity and unsafe sexual activities. The factor that caused most deaths in the country by far is unsafe sexual activity, as it took the lives of 130,387 people in 2017. Moreover, South Africa is one of the countries in the ranking for most HIV/AIDS patients, as 239 people out of every 100,000 in South Africa die of HIV/AIDS. The second factor that causes poor health in South Africa is obesity. About 28.3% of all South African residents were reported to be obese as of 2016. Most importantly, South Africa requires products for safe sexual activity such as those manufactured by Church & Dwight Co., Inc. (NYSE: CHD).

7. Slovenia

Slovenia has been included in the ranking for the unhealthiest countries due to its high consumption of alcohol. Annual alcohol consumption for each adult in Slovenia has been reported to be 12.6 liters, one of the highest worldwide. Moreover, 22.5% of the country’s adult population consume one or more kinds of tobacco products. Not surprisingly, high blood pressure and smoking are the most common reasons of deaths in Slovenia, taking 4,285 and 2,963 lives respectively in 2017.

6. Belarus

Belarus is declared unhealthy primarily due to the lifestyle choices of its citizens. The most common factor causing the death of its residents in 2017 was high blood pressure that caused 46,340 deaths, with smoking in second place with 21,497 deaths, and obesity at a close third with 19,713 casualties. Obesity was detected in 24.5% of the country’s population and accounted for 16.3% of all deaths in 2017. A huge 26.7% of the country’s adult population consumed some form of tobacco in 2016. Moreover, the annual consumption of pure alcohol for the adult population of Belarus is 11.2 liters per person. The most pressing issues for Belarus are not limited to physical conditions, as a whopping 1.16 million residents of Belarus were diagnosed with mental illnesses in 2016.

Click to continue reading and see the 5 Most Unhealthiest Countries in the World.

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Disclosure: None. 20 Most Unhealthiest Countries in the World is originally published on Insider Monkey.