The study, by researchers at Britain’s University of Warwick, claims to have established a connection between a nation’s happiness and its blood pressure levels. Happy countries have fewer blood pressure problems and fewer mental health problems.
Economist Professor Andrew Oswald, one of those carrying out the survey, said:
“We found that a measure of a nation’s rate of hypertension is a good predictor of its overall happiness. That surprised us.”
Sweden came top of the happiness league table, with people reporting satisfaction with their lives and fewer blood pressure problems. Denmark came second in the survey with the UK third.
Interestingly, Sweden’s Nordic neighbour Finland was third from bottom of the survey, with Germany and Portugal reporting least satisfaction with their lives and the highest level of reported blood pressure problems.
The researchers interviewed a randomly selected 15,000 people from 15 western European countries. People were asked how satisfied they were with their lives, were quizzed on their mental health and were asked if they had problems with hypertension (high blood pressure).
“Although it sounds strange to suggest it in 2007, perhaps blood pressure readings will one day replace or augment GDP as a measure of the success of a country.”