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Spain, now the healthiest country in the world.


Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I believe that report initially came out last year.

Peter Fransiscus

Be a Rainbow in someone else's cloud.
Camino(s) past & future
All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
I find that hard to believe given the very large numbers of smokers in Spain, nor just older people but of all ages.
Thats not the only thing they look at...

Although Spain is known for smoking, drinking a lot of wine, and staying up late, their everyday diet and lifestyle choices sets them above the rest. Spain’s diet is a Mediterranean diet filled with healthy fats and legumes, and less red meat and processed foods. Spaniards also eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, and walk almost everywhere that they can. Spain has the highest percentage of walkers in Europe, with 37% of them walking to work instead of driving (only 6% of Americans walk to work). Additionally, Spain’s universal healthcare program is very successful, and they have managed to lower their rate of preventable deaths to 45.4 preventable deaths per 100,000 inhabitants.


Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
It's walking everywhere. Taking time for family. Doing physical labour. Eating good food, slowly and in a relaxed way. Treating the job as a means to an end, and not an end in itself. Meeting friends every afternoon in the plaza. If you are old, still meeting friends in the plaza every afternoon (or the cafe each morning). Knowing your kids will receive an education equal to that of the rich family down the road. Universal health care. Good, affordable, dentists.

That's my totally unscientific assessment!


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, 15,16 & 19 Camino Frances
2017 Camino Portuguese
2018 Camino Primitivo
2020 Camino Del Norte
As noted, still a lot of smoker's in Spain, but you don't see anywhere close to the level of obesity that you see in Canada and the US. Yes, you see over weight people in Spain, but very few obese.
Even with the higher level of smoking, overall they seem very physically active. It seems to work for them.


Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 SJPdP > SdC
2018 Porto > SdC
2019 Sevilla > SdC
Actually surprising, not just from the smoking aspect, but also the cuisine. Spanish food is often very high in fat and many dishes only have patatas fritas as a vegetable.


Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 SJPdP > SdC
2018 Porto > SdC
2019 Sevilla > SdC
I have lived in Spain a long way away from any pilgrim menu and I still see the food as generally high in fat and lacking in vegetables. Not saying you can't get healthier food of course. Maybe the Spanish eat better at home, but they do love their french fries and steak!


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
Actually surprising, not just from the smoking aspect, but also the cuisine. Spanish food is often very high in fat and many dishes only have patatas fritas as a vegetable.
In rural Galicia caldo galego (grelos or berzas ) is still an every day food.
In this food the vegetables remain consistent after cooking. Nothing to do with caldos served at restaurants on the Camino where vegetables usually appear diluted and almost invisible. They do it that way to ensure more acceptance from non local customers.

West Coaster

Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances May-June 2015
I remember walking on the CF and following a group of elderly woman that had just gotten off a bus. They were carrying their heavy bags of groceries up the steep hill to home. They pushed to the top like there was no hill there. I never seen anything like that in Canada.


Perambulating & Curious. Rep stravaiging offender
Camino(s) past & future
I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!
I am still perplexed at all the shops with hats, because it means that there are loads of elderly gentlemen who buy them...and they are literally everywhere...shuffling their feet, yeees... but at their own accord...


Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2013, 2016, Aug. 2020), Del Norte (2018), Primitivo (2018), Nakahechi (Apr. 2020)
I studied abroad for 10 months in Salamanca in 2010-2011 and lived with a Spanish family, and they always ate very well. The only fried thing I can think of is croquetas occasionally. There were always three courses including bread (Naturally, you can't have a meal without bread in Spain!), but the family members always took extremely small portions of each course. And dessert was always fruit (except on birthdays, we got little pastries or a small individual sized cake).

Also, back then I saw very few Spanish people exercising outside, and they were always men. I always felt conscious of that when I'd go out running. That is something that seems to have changed significantly. When I walked the Camino del Norte in 2018, I saw lots of women outside running in addition to men, so I think an exercise culture is also catching on in Spain. I have no surveys to back this up, of course!

Also, I think universal health care plays a huge role in this ranking--they have a low percentage of preventable deaths because no one needs to hesitate to go to a doctor or call an ambulance if they need help.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Ingles Oct 2017

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