8 March 2004
Key data on health 2002 Health in the EU under the microscope
A wide set of indicators from the most relevant sources
Did you know that more than 80% of EU citizens think that they live a healthy lifestyle? Or that Denmark has the lowest incidence rate of hepatitis B? Have you heard that there are more than 15 million people suffering from diabetes (type I and II) in the EU? Or that Finland has the highest number of nurses and midwives per 100 000 inhabitants?
This information, and much more, is available in a new report1 on health released today by Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities. This publication provides a wide, comprehensive, consistent and internationally comparable set of health data and indicators taken from the most relevant data sources available: Eurostat, the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), the WHO (World Health Organisation).
The publication is divided into six chapters (Population and socio-economic background, Lifestyles, Risk associated with the environment, Working conditions, Leisure and traffic, Health status, Mortality and Health care), and covers many new topics such as human resources in the care and social sector, work-related health problems, well-being, mental health, childhood mortality, antimicrobial resistance and certain communicable diseases.
Nearly 90% of Spanish and French think they lead a healthy lifestyle
In 1999, 81% of EU citizens aged more than 15 thought that they led a healthy lifestyle. In Spain, France, Ireland, Belgium, Austria, Portugal and Germany more than 80% did so. Greece was the Member State with the lowest rate (64%) and also recorded the lowest percentage of people doing some exercise (19%), but had the highest share of smokers (45%) and people feeling stressed (72%).
Around three quarters of the EU population thought they ate a balanced diet. Only Italy (48%), Portugal (59%) and Greece (70%) recorded lower figures. As for sports, 78% of Luxemburgers and 76% of Finns exercised at least twice a week, compared with an EU average of 40%.
In Ireland, 52% of the population drank alcohol regularly in 1999, compared with 25% for the EU average. Denmark and the United Kingdom (both 44%) and the Netherlands (43%) also recorded high percentages, while the lowest were observed in Italy (12%) and Spain (19%).
The lowest proportions of smokers were found in Sweden (22%), Italy (27%) and Portugal (28%), while the lowest percentage of people feeling stressed was observed in Finland (27%), Sweden (30%), Denmark and Germany (both 32%). The EU averages were 34% and 38% respectively.
% with a healthy lifestyle
|% with a balanced diet||% exercising at least twice a week||% regularly drinking alcohol||% smoking||% feeling stressed|
Greece has highest ratio of physicians and lowest of nurses and midwives
The number of people employed in the area of health and social work in the EU grew from 13 to 15 million between 1995 and 2000, with in particular the number of practising physicians having increased steadily in most Member States over the last 20 years. The highest rates of practising physicians were found in Greece (438 per 100 000 inhabitants in 1999), followed by Belgium (386 in 2000) and Germany (359). The lowest rates were in the United Kingdom (179 in 2000) and in the Netherlands (192 in 1999). The number of practicing pharmacists has also increased in the last 20 years. However, there were wide variations between Member States, from 19 per 100 000 inhabitants in the Netherlands (in 1999) to 148 in Finland (in 2000).
There were also large variations between Member States in the number of medical specialists. For general surgery, for instance, they ranged from 6 per 100 000 inhabitants in the Netherlands (in 1999) and 8 in France (in 2001) to 19 in Finland (in 2001). Paediatricians ranged from 6 per 100 000 inhabitants in Denmark and the Netherlands (in 1999) to 26 in Greece (in 2001). Finland recorded the highest number of nurses and midwives, with 2 181 per 100 000 inhabitants (in 2000) and Portugal (379 in 1998) and Greece (391 in 1999) the lowest. These differences should be reduced with the implementation of new measures to facilitate the free movement of doctors and nurses and the mutual recognition of their diplomas.
The number of hospital beds per 100 000 inhabitants in the EU decreased by roughly one third in less than 20 years, linked to the drop in the length of hospital stays, from more than 17 days in 1980 to less than 11 days in 1997. Germany and France had the highest number of beds per 100 000 inhabitants, with 920 (in 1999) and 820 (in 2000) respectively.
Human resources in the health and social work sector and hospital beds, per 100 000 inhabitants
|General surgery 2001*||Paediatrics 2001*||Pharmacists 2000*||Nurses & midwives 2000*||Hospital beds 2000*|
General surgery and Paediatrics: reference year 2001 except for Luxembourg, Portugal: 2000; Denmark, Netherlands: 1999; Sweden: 1998; Spain: 1996. United Kingdom only data for England.
Pharmacists: reference year 2000 except for Belgium, France, Netherlands: 1999; Greece, Luxembourg, Sweden: 1998.
Nurses & midwives: reference year 2000 except for Denmark, Greece, France, Italy: 1999; Portugal, United Kingdom: 1998; Belgium: 1996. Italy and United Kingdom only data for those employed in the national health system (public sector hospitals and primary centres).
Hospital beds: reference year 2000 except for EU15, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal: 1999. Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal: nursing homes and day care beds not included, in Spain partially included. Greece: beds in military hospitals not included. Ireland, Sweden, United Kingdom: only beds in public hospitals are included.
Salmonellosis incidence over twice EU average in Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and Austria
Diseases preventable by vaccination, such as pertussis, polio, measles or mumps are contagious, some highly so, but their incidence is very low because vaccines are given routinely in childhood. For instance, for measles and mumps, almost no cases were reported in Finland, with the highest values for measles recorded in Belgium (16 cases per 100 000 inhabitants in 1999) and France (14 cases in 2001), and for mumps in Belgium (30 cases in 1999), Italy and France (both 20 cases in 2001). Polio could be considered as eradicated in the EU.
The same applies to hepatitis B, for which the incidence has declined over the past 10 years. 4 cases per 100 000 inhabitants were recorded in the EU in 1998, with the highest levels observed in Luxembourg (19 in 2001) and the Netherlands (10 in 2001).
By contrast, other infectious diseases such as salmonellosis or legionellosis are becoming a more significant health problem in the EU. 41 cases of salmollenosis per 100 000 inhabitants were recorded in 2001, with the highest incidence rates recorded in Belgium (104 cases), Germany (94 cases), Luxembourg (83 cases) and Austria (81 cases). Highest incidence rates for legionellosis in 2001 were found in Spain (3.5 per 100 000), Denmark (2.0), France (1.4) and the Netherlands (1.1).
Cancer is one of the most important causes of mortality. Around 25% of deaths are caused by malignant neoplasms. At the incidence rates prevailing in 1997, it would be expected that 1 out of 3 men and 1 out of 4 women would be directly affected by cancer in the first 75 years of life.
In 2000 it is estimated that 4.1% of the EU population or 15.6 million people were diabetics (type I and II), with the highest proportion in Finland (5.3%), Sweden (5.1%), Italy and Greece (both 5.0%), and lowest in Ireland (2.7%). In the EU an estimated 4.6 million people aged more than 30 suffered from different types of dementia in 2000, that is 12 per 1 000 inhabitants. Sweden (15‰) and Italy (14‰) recorded the highest estimated prevalence and Ireland the lowest (8‰).
Incidence of certain diseases2, 2001
Figures available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED
Eurostat, "Health statistics - Key data on health 2002", 457 pp. ISBN 92-894-3730-8, EUR 45 (exc. VAT). The publication is available free of charge in PDF format on the Eurostat website.
Salmonella infections produces gastrointestinal tract and enteric fever. Infected food products are often the sources of salmonellosis. The figures have to be interpreted carefully since it is likely that many food infections go unrecorded because patients fail to report the illness, no laboratory diagnosis is made or the diagnosis is not reported centrally.
Legionella infections results in pneumonia. The bacteria are often found in air conditioning plants or cooling towers in hospitals and hotels.
Cancer: all sites but skin (excluding non-melanocytic skin cancers).
Diabetes: prevalence rate. Including insulin-dependent and non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (Type I and II).
Dementia: prevalence rate for people aged more than 30. Includes Alzheimer (about 50%-70% of the cases) and other dementias such as AIDS dementia complex, Binswanger's disease, Lewy-Body dementia, Pick's disease, multi-infarct dementia and other forms.
Sources: cancer: EUCAN; diabetes: Amos, McCarty and Zimmet, International Diabetes Institute and WHO Collaborating Centre of the Epidemiology of Diabetes Mellitus; alzheimer: Huismann. Raven and Geiger; from Alzheimer Europe and national Alzheimer associations; others: Eurostat.
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