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Investment firm LetterOne ranks Canada the best country in the world for overall well-being

There's more to life than money, and economists know it. As new assessments of global living standards proliferate, attempting to gauge how healthy, happy and successful humans are depending on where they live, a pattern is slowly emerging.

According to the Global Wellness Index, Canada is the best country in the world to live in based on a set of indicators that measure global health, wealth, and happiness. This new index is an attempt to change how a nation's success is measured, rather than solely focusing on its GDP.

The Global Wellness Index examines key metrics, including: blood pressure, blood glucose, obesity, depression, happiness, alcohol use, tobacco use, exercise, healthy life expectancy and government spending on healthcare, drawing from sources such as the World Health Organization, World Happiness Report, and public health data. It is the first robust report to encompass wellness data covering over 150 countries.

Bloomberg: 'Canadians live long and prosper'

Results of the index indicate that several major economies struggle when stacked up against smaller, healthier countries with lower GDPs. For example, nations like the U.S., with poor scores in depression and obesity, lag far behind. The U.S. ranked 37th on the index. Meanwhile, Canada's top ranking is the result of good scores in blood pressure, life expectancy, government healthcare spending, as well as high levels of reported happiness.

Countries like South Africa, a nation once praised for its economic growth, demonstrate that ranking an economy based on traditional economic metrics can miss "important parts of the story when it comes to the well-being of a nation," says Richard Davies, the former Bank of England and U.K. Treasury Economist responsible for compiling the Global Wellness Index.

Indicators such as the equitability of a country as well as the well-being and happiness of its citizens may be something future economists will give greater consideration when determining the success of a nation, as measuring economies based solely on traditional economic indicators becomes a thing of the past.

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