The European health report 2005. Public health action for healthier children and populations. Summary



2005, ii + 12 pages
ISBN 92 890 1378 8
This publication is only available online.
See full report under "See also".

While rightly proud of the overall improvement in health in WHO European Region, governments and policy-makers still face a widening gap between western and eastern countries and between socioeconomic groups in countries. Reducing these inequalities is increasingly vital. The European health report 2005 shows that it is also feasible.

This summary of the report lists the major public health issues facing the Region, and describes effective policy responses. It shows that using well-known, comprehensive interventions to tackle the leading risk factors - tobacco, alcohol, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, overweight, low fruit and vegetable intake, and physical inactivity - would largely prevent the leading conditions - ischaemic heart disease, unipolar depressive disorders, cerebrovascular disease, alcohol-use disorders, chronic pulmonary disease, lung cancer and road traffic injury. This creates a compelling argument for action.

Like the larger report, the summary has a special focus on children's health, because health in childhood determines health throughout life and into the next generation. The summary identifies poverty and socioeconomic inequality as the greatest threats to children's health, calls for renewed effort in protection and promotion, and provides an evidence-based list of the characteristics of the most successful policies and programmes. The summary - as well as the complete report - helps to supply the reliable, evidence-based information needed for sound decision-making on public health.