Main Findings of European Health Report

The European Commission and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development have issued a joint report, "Health at a Glance: Europe 2010," on the state of health in the 27-member European Union. It finds that EU life expectancy at birth rose from an average of 72 years in 1980 to 78 years in 2007. From 2000 to 2008, the rate of newly diagnosed HIV cases more than doubled. The highest HIV prevalence estimates were noted in the nations with the highest incidence of AIDS: Estonia, Latvia, Portugal, and Spain. Deaths from heart disease fell, but it remained the leading cause of mortality, accounting for 40 percent of all deaths in Europe in 2008. A decline in tobacco consumption and less heavy drinking in some countries were credited for the decrease. Cancer was the second leading cause of death, resulting in 26 percent of mortalities. Compared to women, men were more likely to die of cancer, especially lung cancer. Breast cancer accounted for 31 percent of new cancer diagnoses among women. EU member states spent, on average, 8.3 percent of their GDP on health, up from 7.3 percent in 1998. By comparison, the US spends 16 percent of its GDP on health.