Avoiding (premature) deaths in the UK and EU.


No death is avoidable so better to call it premature deaths.

France has the lowest proportion of avoidable deaths at 23.8% (in spite of or is it because of all that wine and cheese!?) and Romania the highest at 49.4%.

The EU average is 33.7% and the UK sits just above the average at 34.2%. Startling. Sobering.

The main causes of avoidable deaths according to Eurostat (EU’s statistical office) are heart disease and stroke (nearly half of all avoidable deaths), colorectal cancer, breast cancer and pneumonia.  Statistics are not held for deaths caused by medical and drug interventions which some have suggested is the third biggest cause of premature death.

Meanwhile, a report authored by Peter Scarborough at Oxford University Nuffield Department of Population Health suggests that 250,000 people in the UK will die from preventable conditions by 2025.  This can be checked by targeted interventions: smoking, alcohol consumption, poor diet and physical inactivity.

By reformulating food to reduce salt, sugar and portion size then there would be 26,000 fewer deaths. If tobacco tax was raised there would be 2,450 fewer deaths. Brief advice on physical activity delivered by GPs could result in the avoidance of 98,000 years lived with disability.

The greatest impact on long term health will be on our children so it is important to get them on board.  

Let’s all contribute to changing the nation’s health by changing ourselves.

Some cancer-causing agents to think about.

Class 1: Carcinogenic to humans (118 items listed)

Alcohol, asbestos, diesel fumes, some prescribed drugs, body fatness, Human Papilloma Virus, contraceptive pill, tobacco, sunshine, X Rays, processed meats, wood dust, coal emissions.

Class 2A: Probably carcinogenic (80)

Mobile phones, insecticides, talc, shift-work, creosotes, emissions from frying, working as a hairdresser, lead, red meat.

Class 2B: Possibly carcinogenic (289)

Aloe vera, bitumen, carpentry, pickled vegetables, petrol fumes, coconut oil.

Class 3: Inadequate evidence (502)

Caffeine, coffee, tea, paracetamol, hair dye.

Class 4: Probably not carcinogenic (1)

Caprolactam, a chemical used in made-made (synthetic) clothing.

Source: International Agency for Research on Cancer classifications


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