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Health at a Glance: Europe 2012

image of Health at a Glance: Europe 2012

This second edition of Health at a Glance: Europe presents a set of key indicators of health status, determinants of health, health care resources and activities, quality of care, health expenditure and financing in 35 European countries, including the 27 European Union member states, 5 candidate countries and 3 EFTA countries. The selection of indicators is based largely on the European Community Health Indicators (ECHI) shortlist, a set of indicators that has been developed to guide the reporting of health statistics in the European Union.  It is complemented by additional indicators on health expenditure and quality of care, building on the OECD expertise in these areas. Each indicator is presented in a user-friendly format, consisting of charts illustrating variations across countries and over time, a brief descriptive analysis highlighting the major findings conveyed by the data, and a methodological box on the definition of the indicator and any limitations in data comparability.

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Executive summary

European countries have achieved major gains in population health in recent decades. Life expectancy at birth in European Union (EU) member states has increased by more than six years since 1980, to reach 79 years in 2010, while premature mortality has reduced dramatically. Over three-quarters of these years of life can be expected to be lived free of activity limitation. Gains in life expectancy can be explained by improved living and working conditions and some health-related behaviours, but better access to care and quality of care also deserves much credit, as shown, for instance, by sharply reduced mortality rates following a heart attack or stroke.

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