Monday, July 22, 2024

Ireland ranked second healthiest country in the world to raise a child

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Global data compiled by Universal Drugstore explored the many factors that contribute to a healthy childhood, from obesity rates to mental health.

Finland took first place as the healthiest country to raise a child, scoring 7.08 out of 10. It ranks among the best destinations for clean, safe drinking water with a quality of 100, the highest score.

Finland also has one of the cleanest air quality in the world (4.9), ranked in the top five. Therefore, it’s no wonder the country is one of the top places where youths have the highest happiness score, scoring 7.3 out of 10, alongside Luxembourg.

Regarding education, Finland ranks in the top 10 with one of the highest PISA scores. This score combines students’ average math, reading, and science proficiency worldwide. The country’s average scores are almost 12.5pc higher than the global average.

Ireland is second, with a score of 7.04 out of 10. It ranks as one of the best countries for safe drinking water, with a water quality score of 100. Alongside Norway, it is also in the top 10 for air quality, with a score of 6.3.

Ireland has the second-lowest rate of insufficient physical activity (72pc) among adolescents compared to other countries, meaning a more active youth population

Ireland has the second-lowest rate of insufficient physical activity (72pc) among adolescents compared to other countries, meaning a more active youth population. The data finds Ireland to be proficient in education, as it is in the top 10 with one of the highest PISA scores — 14.5pc higher than the global average.

In third place is the Netherlands, with a score of 6.95 out of 10. Much like Finland and Ireland, the Netherlands also scores very highly for its water quality (100), achieving the highest level of clean, safe drinking water.

The methodology for the global findings involved used IQAir to gather the 2023 data on air quality in every country, ranking the data from worst to best. Water quality data was collected using the Environmental Performance Index (2022), which measures unsafe drinking water using age-standardised disability-adjusted life-years lost per 100,000 persons (DALY rate) due to exposure to unsafe drinking water.

Obesity rates were scoured through the Global Obesity Observatory (2022) and youth inactivity rates were taken from Unicef (2021). Data on mental health among youth was taken from the World Happiness Report.

Indonesia came out as the unhealthiest country to raise a child, scoring 2.44 out of 10, with China and Saudi Arabia also among the most unhealthy countries for children to grow up.

Indonesia also has the second-lowest air quality (37.1) and the third-lowest water quality (24.9 out of 100), potentially resulting in one of the lowest happiness scores among youth, scoring 6.09 out of 10. However, the country does have a relatively low alcohol use (12.9pc) among adolescents compared to other countries, ranking third. This low rate is likely due to religious restrictions surrounding alcohol consumption.

Dr Jamie Winn PharmD at Universal Drugstore, comments on how a child’s environment can have a significant impact on their health: “Children require a healthy and safe environment to grow, learn, explore, and develop. A poor environment can significantly impair a child’s health and intellectual, emotional, and social growth, as they are particularly vulnerable to environmental risks.

“Healthier states and countries tend to provide better education, improved healthcare, and access to cleaner air and recreational facilities. These aid in advancing your child’s physical and cognitive development and can positively impact their self-esteem and self-image.

“Children need to be given the opportunity to thrive in child-friendly environments. Access to healthcare services, healthy food, and open green spaces can improve their overall development and well-being.”

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