The European health report 2015

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The publication of the European health report every three years gives readers a snapshot of health and progress towards well-being in this Region where nearly 900 million people live.

The 53 Member States in the WHO European Region, which stretches from the Arctic Ocean in the North and the Mediterranean Sea in the south, and from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east, adopted the new European health policy framework “Health 2020” in 2012. This new policy is meant to improve the health and well-being of populations thanks to people-centered health systems that are equitable, sustainable and of high quality.

The 2015 Report gives an account of progress towards the “Health 2020” targets in the Region so far, which are to increase life expectancy and reduce premature mortality in Europe, and to reduce inequities in health between the countries.

Thereby, we learn that, even if infant mortality has declined in the countries with the highest rates since 1990, the differences between countries remain substantial. With an inequity gap of 20 deaths per 1000 live births, between the lowest and the highest rate in the Region.

 

WHO 2015 infant mortality

 

If the Region is on track to achieve the “Health 2020” target to reduce premature mortality due to cardiovascular diseases or diabetes for example, levels of alcohol consumption, tobacco use and obesity, which are among the major risk factors for premature mortality, remain alarmingly high. The European health report 2015 reveals that this Region has the highest levels of alcohol consumption and tobacco use in the world.

Given the urgency of the situation, Member States set up policies to tackle the risk factors, leading to declining trends in tobacco use and alcohol consumption since the last Report in 2012. However, this decline is not sufficient to meet the 30% reduction target of the global noncommunicable diseases monitoring framework by 2025.

 

WHO 2015 risk factors

 

Also, this report highlights new frontiers that need to be addressed in the coming years to optimize health monitoring for public health, which is no longer calculated through death and disease only, but also with the focus on the subjective well-being.

 

WHO 2015 subjective well-being

 

In order to carry out « Health 2020 », the 2015 Report advocates to European countries to realize more important efforts mean to measure the well-being of the populations, and its cultural contexts.

 

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