Someone googled to my summerdorment geology blog with the frase "do swedish people get sick a lot". This sparked my attention and gave me a topic related to the enviroment.
The short answer to the question is: No we dont. We have one of the most healthy populations in the world as far as I know. People grow older here than in most other countries. We have the lowest number smokers in the world for instance. People have lots of knowledge on whats healthy food and whats not. Lots of people exercise reguarly. And its a silly myth that we have the highest suicide rate in the world. We are somewhere in the middle on that- below the US for example. I think Russia is one of the worst on suicide. A happy and healthy population. People in Sweden are the seventh most happiest people in the world according to studies. Americans in comparison are placed on number 23. That means we laugh a little bit more
Take that all who thinks that Sweden is a dark and horrible socialist country almost belonging to the Soviet Union. Aint true. Ok.. a little bit true, we have some socialists politics here sometimes - but not like Soviet…
However there are some dark clouds on the sky - which could be the things the person was looking for when googling. We have a high number of people calling in sick for work. But this has less to do with sickness than with the fact that our employment laws allows people to skip work without risk of loosing their jobs. Another and more important dark cloud is the inreasing rate of people becoming more and more allergic to things. Some scientists believe that this could be caused by to well insulated homes and too little exposure to "filth". People tend to build houses more and more in Sweden that are energy efficient. Ecological houses that need very little energy. Nice and super clean. Basically that means houses with a more restricted and controlled ventilation system. For me, always sleeping with my bedroom window opened, breathing fresh air these modern houses sounds like a nightmare. Ill take a drafty old cottage anytime.
Im 100% sure of the truth of theory saying that the increased allergies are caused by the simple fact that people live in "enviromental-eco-houses" and dont get exposed enough to fresh (that is unfiltered and thus containing pollens and "dust" air. I mean - the simple fact that children growing up in suburbs and wealthier enviroments are more allergic than people living on the country side in older buildings where you open up the windows for fresh air - is all the evidence I need. Its just common sence that the complex human organism and our immunesystem needs the exposure of the "great outdoors" on a constant basis to work. People living in i cocoon cant hardly develop what the need and therefor cant withstand pollen and dust in the same way.
Typical Swedish modern eco-friendly but unhealthy living. Saves energy. Probably hardly needs any energy at all to keep the heat since it stores the heat people generate. "Saves the planet" - but basically slashes the health of people by huge numbers probably. Homo Sapiens is the product of millions of years of hard evolution - but all that time we have lived and breathed the open air. Its only the last 20 years that our living conditions have becomed so cocooned. And its also the last 20 years that the number of children developing allergies has increased dramatically. Theres an obvious connection. People are going to notice this when more countries start building houses of "Swedish air-tight energy saving standards". Basically Sweden is by far more advanced in this field than other nations - but its nothing to be proud of since it seems to have drawbacks.
The houses are not the only fault - the hysterical view on cleaing is another big piece. Combine the houses with our frenzic need to vacuum (like every day - otherwise you live in misery according to some) and you have an ugly combination of insulated enviroments with air filled with vacuumed particles.
Swedes - happier and healthier than most - but also idiots when it comes to fresh air and dust.
Update: An article on the growing demand on eco-friendly houses.