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"Yoga Increasing Life Expectancy"
-Brittany Ruiz
date posted: October 24, 2012

Does the practice of yoga have a strong effect on why some countries in the world have far higher numbers of healthy and prosperous residents than other countries?

According to the World Health Organization, Japan, Switzerland, Australia, Italy and Sweden ranked as the top five countries for longest life span expectancies. Factors like high gross domestic product (GDP), mandatory, universal or affordable health care and healthy lifestyles and diets all seem to be criteria in countries whose citizens have long life expectancies. Varying levels of inequality and genetics also play a role in life span, but to a lesser degree. Some statistics pointed to people in some countries relying heavily on active physical disciplines like yoga to help health, reduce stress and promoting rest.

The United States ranked low on the list, due to its diversity of race, lifestyle habits, income levels and low hours of rest on a daily basis. To determine how rates of life expectancy and use of life insurance can be increased by a healthy population and fewer stress indicators, see TermLifeInsurance.org for more information.

Here are the rankings as compiled by Huffington Post.

1. Japan

Residents of Japan have an average life expectancy of 82.7 years. This is in part due to diets high in vegetables and protein. Rice also contains essential trace elements which are good for the body. They also have a gross domestic product (GDP) of $42,820, which is often an indicator of life expectancy

Japan has the highest population of people who live longer than 100 years of age. These people are known as centenarians. In 2002, for every 100,000 residents, there were 34.7 people over the age of 100. The Japanese obesity rate is 3.2 percent, 10 times less than the United States. Health insurance is available through the national health insurance program and through employers.

2. Switzerland

The Swiss have a life expectancy of 82.2 years and have a GDP of $70,000. Every citizen is required to purchase private health insurance, and in turn, health insurance companies are required to accept all applicants. Heath care is the primary reason for long life expectancies in Switzerland.

3. Australia

Over 23 million Australian residents can expect to live an average of 81.5 years. The long life span is in part attributed to Australian universal healthcare coverage with expenses paid for by the government. The country also has high GDP of $55,000.

4. Italy

Italians can expect to live an average of 81.5 years. The country’s health care system plays a big factor as family doctors are paid by the National Health Service. All surgeries and hospitalization are free and available from public hospitals. Italy has a population of approximately 60 million and a GDP of $34,059.

5. Sweden

The life expectancy in Sweden is 81.4 years. This is highly attributed to lifestyle and Sweden’s health care system. In Sweden, 97 percent of its resident’s health care is paid by the government. Only three percent is paid by the resident. Sweden has a population of 9.4 million and a GDP or $47,934.

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