BACKGROUND: The Global Burden of Disease study has generated a wealth of data on death and disability in Europe. At a time of change for the European Union and European Region of WHO, with a new Health Commissioner and Regional Director, respectively, a review of health trends can contribute to identify outstanding needs and gaps. This paper reports a summary of the burden of disease in the European Union (EU) in 2017 (compared with 2007).
METHODS: For the whole EU and each country, mortality by causes of death, disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) and life expectancies are reported.
RESULTS: In 2017, the age-standardized mortality and DALY rates were of 452.6 and 19 663.3 per 100 000 inhabitants, respectively. The diseases contributing most to mortality were ischaemic heart disease (IHD), dementias and stroke, while low back pain and IHD accounted for the highest burden of DALYs.
CONCLUSIONS: Overall, there was an improvement in the state of health in the EU but substantial differences between countries remain. Cardiovascular diseases still represent the major burden, although there have been substantial improvements. There are many opportunities for mutual learning among otherwise similar countries with different patterns of disease.