Life expectancy on the rise in EU: report

December 4, 2014 12:25 pm 

BRUSSELS, Dec. 4 — Life expectancy continues to increase in the European Union (EU), according to a new report jointly released by the European Commission and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on Wednesday.

Life expectancy in the EU reached 79.2 years on average in 2012 (82.2 years for women and 76.1 for men respectively), an increase of 5.1 years since 1990, said the report. However, a gap of 8.4 years still existed between the highest and lowest member states.

Smoking rates in the EU stood at an average of 22.8 percent in 2012, a 12 percent reduction since 2002. Besides, the EU has the highest level of alcohol consumption in the world, at an average of 10.1 liters per person, according to the report.

Overweight and obesity is increasing in the EU, with more than half of the adults either overweight or obese. To be specific, one in six adults is affected by obesity in the EU, an increase from one in eight a decade ago.

Health spending decreased by 0.6 percent annually on average between 2009 and 2012, due to cuts in health workforce and salaries, reductions in fees paid to health providers, lower pharmaceutical prices, and increased patient co-payments, noted the report.

The report also showed that patients in the EU increasingly moved across borders to pursue medical treatment. Further growth of patient mobility may be seen as a result of the entry into force in 2013 of the EU Directive on Cross-border healthcare.

It is hoped that the report "will help stimulate further actions so that European citizens of all socio-economic backgrounds can enjoy longer, healthier and more active lives", according to the joint statement by Vytenis Andriukaitis, EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, and Angel Gurria, Secretary General of OECD. (PNA/Xinhua)

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