Burden of diseases.
The WHO (2005) presented estimates of the Burden of
Disease, measured in DALY's lost, for the individual countries of the European
Region of WHO for the year 2002. The same study has made additional estimates
of the major risk factors that contribute to that Burden of Disease. As these
major risk factors are largely preventable, the study presents a rough estimate
for the preventable Burden of Disease in European countries (Table 13.8).
Table 13.6. WHO estimates for preventable Burden of Disease
(DALY's) in the EU27 Member States (2002)
The major preventable risk factors in the European
Union (Table 13.6) are smoking, having a high blood pressure, drinking too much
alcohol, overweight, high blood levels of cholesterol and physically
inactivity. Most of these factors can be improved by improving our lifestyles,
occasionally by taking specific medication.
Eating more fruit and vegetables and refraining from
illicit drugs and unsafe sex would lessen the burden of disease in the EU even
It is clear from the data reported in Table 13.6 that
these risk factors have a different impact in different Countries. Moreover, it
is to be considered that this data comparison refers to the general population
and, therefore, the impact within the population groups with specific
lifestyles is underestimated. They do indicate, however, that prevention and health
promotion can contribute to a significant improvement in European
health, resulting both in a reduced burden for the healthcare systems and in an
even higher benefit for the population groups with unhealthy habits.