December 7, 2010 / 12:34 PM / 9 years ago

Factbox: Main findings of European health report

LONDON (Reuters) - Here are the main findings of a joint report by the European Commission and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development on health in the 27-member European Union.

* Life expectancy at birth in the EU increased by 6 years between 1980 to 2007, from an average of 72 years in 1980 to 78 years in 2007.

* The number of premature deaths has reduced dramatically. Death rates in Estonia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland have fallen by over 30 percent, a decline that is greater than the EU average. Ireland has seen a fall in mortality rates of over 50 percent.

* There has been a fall in deaths from heart disease, still the biggest cause of death in the EU, accounting for 40 percent of all deaths in Europe in 2008. A number of factors are responsible for this decline, namely less tobacco consumption, and less heavy drinking in some countries.

* The second leading cause of death in the EU is cancer, which accounted for 26 percent of deaths in 2008.

* More men tend to die of cancer than women in the EU - particularly from lung cancer. In 2008, death rates from lung cancer among men were the highest in central and eastern European countries, where more men tend to smoke.

* Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the EU. It accounted for 31 percent of new cancer cases among women, and 17 percent of deaths in 2008. Although the incidence of breast cancer has risen over the past decade, the number of deaths has declined or remained stable.

* Between 2000 and 2008, the rate of newly-diagnosed cases of HIV more than doubled. HIV prevalence estimates were highest in those countries with high AIDS incidence rates, namely Estonia, Latvia, Portugal and Spain.

* There is a strong link between the prevalence of dementia and the aging of the population. The number of people aged 65 or over is expected to double between 1995 and 2050, to reach 135 million. Therefore the number of people with dementia will also rise. Healthcare costs associated with dementia are expected to rise to over 250 billion euros ($332 billion) in the EU by 2030.

* Improvements in road security have resulted in over 40 percent fewer deaths in the EU due to transport accidents since 1994.

* Over half the EU adult population, or 50.1 percent is now overweight or obese. Currently, one in seven children in the EU is overweight or obese and the figures are set to rise.

* In 2008, EU Member States spent, on average, 8.3 percent of their GDP on health, up from 7.3 percent in 1998. The United States spends 16 percent of its GDP on health.

SOURCE: The “Health at a Glance: Europe 2010” report

Compiled by Kate Kelland

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