Daily Management Review

Report Claims Each Year Premature Death Occurs to More than Half a Million Europeans


Report Claims Each Year Premature Death Occurs to More than Half a Million Europeans
A review of 36 countries published by the European Commission and Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) finds that chronic disease, obesity, smoking, drugs and alcohol are cutting short the productive life of millions of Europeans.
The potential economic loss of around 115 billion euros - or about 0.8 percent of the EU's annual gross domestic product (GDP) results due to the premature deaths of 550,000 working-age people each year finds the "Health at a Glance" study.
"We cannot continue to lose half a million people of working age every year prematurely," said Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis in a speech in Brussels.
Compared to countries in the eastern regions of the EU such as Latvia and Bulgaria, the so called big countries such as Germany, Sweden and France spend around twice as much relative to GDP, the report noted.
With higher rates in northern European countries such as Denmark, France, Belgium, Norway and the United Kingdom, cancer is shown to have large variations across the bloc, the report found using the data for 2012.
Occurring in just 200 people per 100,000, Greece and Cyprus registered the lowest rates of incidence.
However, through a mix of awareness campaigns, regulations and taxation, progress in reducing smoking in most EU countries was noted by the OECD.
However alcohol use is said to require more attention. Registering more than 14 liters per adult per year, Lithuanian consumption in 2014 was measured to be higher than any other European country among adults.
With adults on average downing less than 2 liters per year, the alcohol "angels" are Turkey.
"Cocaine is the most commonly used illicit stimulant in Europe," the authors wrote.
With usage rising in the Czech Republic, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Norway and Poland, 1.9 per cent of young adults aged 15 to 34 report using cocaine in the last year across Europe.
Far outweighing other European countries is the UK where this young adult figure stands at 4.2 per cent. High rates of the sexually transmitted disease, gonorrhea, are also noted in Britain. The sexually transmitted infection was found to be present in 60 out of every 100,000 people in the British population.
Compared to this, European average is of 20 per 100,000 people.
With 26 percent of the adult population in 2014 considered at an unhealthy weight, Malta was the worst offender for obesity. Best at keeping the weight off were Italy, Norway and Romania.
With life expectancy rising from 74.2 years to 80.9 years, the report finds people are living on average seven years longer than they were in 1990, which is a more upbeat note.
Credit to more efficiency in delivering healthcare, more doctors and earlier diagnoses was accorded to in the report based on data which shows that survival rates for heart attacks, strokes and several types of cancer have gone up.
The report would mark the first step in a longer-term collaboration between the European Commission and OECD and the report was "the fruit of extremely valuable partnership", Andriukaitis also said.