Where you live plays a huge role in your life expectancy, which isn’t surprising given the glaring differences in the economies, health care systems and political stability of countries around the world. Ranking countries by life expectancy is challenging given differences in interpretation of birth rate data and poor reporting from some places. However, it is clear, residents of some countries fare far better than others. The World Health Organization (WHO) released its ranking in 2016 with the United States ranked 31st.
In Japan, the average life expectancy for men is 80.5 and 86.8 for women. The Japanese diet plays a major role in this. Smaller portions, fewer processed foods and less saturated fat has created a high level of cardiovascular health and lower rates of obesity. Fish, vegetables and rice are staples. Japan also has universal health care with about 70 percent of costs covered by the government and citizens go to the doctor an average of 14 times a year. Kids walk to school and adults to work as much as possible. The country still has its challenges though. Doctors can be hard to come by in some rural areas, westernization is altering the diet, and it has a relatively high suicide rate. Although Japan has one of the lower rates of smoking in Asia, it is still higher than much of the Western world.