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Public Health

Health at a Glance: Europe 2018

The fifth edition of Health at a Glance: Europe presents the latest information on health and health systems in 35 European countries, including all European Union Member States, 5 candidate countries and 3 EFTA countries.

The first part of the report includes 2 new thematic chapters. Chapter 1 makes the case to promote mental health, while Chapter 2 analyses wasteful spending in health systems. Part 2 of the report evaluates up-to-date key indicators of health status, risk factors and health spending. As in previous editions, there is a comprehensive discussion of progress in improving the effectiveness, accessibility and resilience of European health systems.

Key findings

  • Over 84,000 people died of the consequences of mental health problems across Europe in 2015. The total costs arising from mental health problems are estimated to amount to over € 600 billion per year.
  • Evidence from various countries suggests that up to 20 % of health spending could be reallocated for better use. A mix of policy levers could optimise spending by ensuring value for money, for example in the selection and coverage or procurement and pricing of pharmaceutics through Health Technology Assessment.
  • Until recently, life expectancy was rising rapidly and steadily across EU countries. However, since 2011, the gains in life expectancy have slowed down markedly. Moreover, large disparities in life expectancy persist not only by sex but also by socioeconomic status. For instance, on average across the EU, 30-year-old men with a low level of education can expect to live about 8 years less than those with a university degree.
  • Nearly 40% of adolescents report at least one binge-drinking event in the preceding month. Although alcohol control policies have helped reduce overall alcohol consumption in several EU countries, heavy alcohol consumption among both adolescents and adults remains an important public health issue.
  • Low-income households are 5 times more likely to report unmet care needs than high-income households.