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Gallup Ranks Panama Top For Well-Being

For the second year running, Panama has topped the Gallup-Healthways Country Well-Being report with Costa Rica coming in a close second. Switzerland emerged as the winner among European countries and fourth overall. The United States’ ranking dropped from number 12 to 23 globally falling behind Israel and only a notch higher than Canada. Other countries featured in the top ten list include Belize and Mexico.

According to Gallup, one of the ways individuals can boost their well-being status include increasing time allocated to leisure activities or taking a vacation more often. The Group says some of the benefits that come from making healthy lifestyle tweaks include lower blood pressure, reduced stress hormones and smaller waists.

To rank the countries, Gallup interviewed people from 145 countries and analyzed how they responded in regards to five aspects of well-being namely purpose, community, financial and physical as well as social well-being.

The group says that globally, only a sixth of adults can be regarded as thriving or boast steady or consistent results in at least three of all the five aspects of well-being.

Latin Americans outscore any other region in all aspects of well-being according to the polling firm. The firm further notes that many people who reside in Latin American countries have the highest incidences of positive experiences such as smiling, laughing and being treated with respect when pitted against other people residing elsewhere on the planet.

The least thriving countries were nestled in sub-Saharan Africa, but Afghanistan had the worst circumstances and came in last in a number of categories.

Gallup says that well-being does not necessarily correlate with a particular country’s GDP, the presence of conflict or other definite indicators. While there are cases of extremely low well-being in war-torn countries such as Afghanistan, there was also cases of low well-being in countries in relatively stable countries such as Croatia, South Korea, and Singapore.

Peter Choueiri, the President of Healthways International, says that many countries put in a lot of resources to ensure their citizens thrive in three areas of well-being, physical, community and social. Choueiri says countries need to improve on purpose and financial well-being of their citizens.

Gallup says it interviewed a total of 146,000 participants to compile the index. To get the actual sense of how people were feeling, the group asked the participants questions about how they felt about each of the five aspects of well-being.

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