Cheapest countries in which to live healthily

Australia is one the cheapest countries in the world in which to live healthily, according to a study into worldwide healthy living costs

Australia ranked surprisingly well, but the biggest surprise may well have been the country that placed second.

Researchers analysed close to 100 countries worldwide, reviewing the costs involved in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, from eating a balanced diet to purchasing activewear and paying for a monthly gym membership.

The costs were then weighted against national average salaries to reveal how affordable it really is to lead a healthy lifestyle, within each specific country.

The study found that Denmark is the most affordable country in the world to stay healthy.

It may surprise very few that Denmark, home to an A-rated pension system and the second-happiest country in the world, is also the most affordable country in which to live a healthy lifestyle.

Read: Making healthy eating more affordable

The country is led by its capital, Copenhagen, which has long been striving to become the healthiest city on earth. The cost of fresh produce and gyms are highly affordable when weighted against the average national salary, certainly more than in other countries.

The country that surprised researchers most was the United States, which was ranked second cheapest overall.

Historically known as a fast-food culture, the United States has comparatively low costs for keeping healthy, with favourable prices for fresh produce and monthly gym memberships when compared to average earnings.

Read: The proven benefits of living a healthy life

And while Switzerland is generally understood to be one of the most expensive countries in which to live, the country also sits on the cheaper end of the healthy living scale.

The top 10 comprised seven countries from Europe. The remaining two of the three ‘outliers’, Australia and Canada, placed fourth and eighth respectively.

At the bottom of the ladder was Iran, with its low average income and incredibly high healthy living costs making it the most expensive location worldwide to maintain healthy habits.

Tunisia and Egypt, where healthy living costs represent a high percentage of the average monthly salary, were also poorly ranked.

The 10 most affordable countries in which to keep healthy are:

  1. Denmark
  2. United States of America
  3. Switzerland
  4. Australia
  5. Germany
  6. Netherlands
  7. United Kingdom
  8. Canada
  9. Ireland
  10. Sweden

While the cost of healthy living was the focus of the research, there are still many ways people can live healthily without breaking the bank, no matter where they live, says PureGym chief marketing officer Stephen Rowe.

“Keeping fit and healthy both in our diets and in our exercise routines is an important part of a well-rounded lifestyle that can also have huge benefits for our mental wellbeing,” says Mr Rowe.

“With the New Year fast approaching and many people often using this time to re-evaluate their lifestyles and introduce healthy habits, it felt like the ideal time to look at which countries are more affordable than others to keep fit and healthy.

Read: The best health and fitness apps and wearables

“And while some locations can be more costly than others, there’s always ways to stay healthy, even when on a budget.

“We’ve also recently made our app free to provide everyone with over 400 workout ideas. Whether you’re already on your fitness journey or planning on starting out in January, it always pays to keep healthy”.

How do you live healthily for less? Why not share your tips in the comments section below?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.