Last time I tried to explain some of the variation in health and longevity across countries using traditional health benchmarks of smoking, alcohol and obesity rates. Yet I showed last time, that those benchmarks are not particularly good at explaining health differences across countries. Obesity rates and smoking rates have very little correlation with higher longevity across countries, and only very high levels of alcohol consumption, and especially spirits, seem to negatively affect a population in aggregate. Most of the differences in longevity across countries (and within) are due to wealth differences (see graph below), but we still see relative overperformers and underperformers around that general trend.
David A. Pace, CFA
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