New WHO report reveals unequal improvements in health in Europe

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The overall level of health across Europe has improved but there are inequities within and between countries, says a report of the World Health Organization (WHO).

The WHO's European health report 2012, covers the region's 53 countries and nearly 900 million people.

The report, which is issued every three years, says that life expectancy is rising across Europe, increasing by five years since 1980 to reach 76 years in 2010.

Dr. Claudia Stein is director of the division of information, evidence, research and innovation at the WHO's Regional Office for Europe.

"In 2010 women lived on average to the age of 80 while men only lived to the age of 72.5 years. So that's quite a difference but this difference is even bigger in some countries. In some countries of Eastern Europe, for example, women live up to 12 year longer than men and that it, of course, also a result of life style choices that men make like increased smoking, alcohol misuse, etc. So we have inequalities again in the most basic of our indicators which is life expectancy."

The European health report 2012 says there is also a continued decline in overall mortality although rates vary considerably across the region.

They are highest in the eastern part of the region and the lowest in western countries, according to the report.

It says non-communicable diseases account for about 80 per cent of deaths.

Gerry Adams, United Nations.

Duration: 1'34"

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