Britons at bottom of EU health tables

Britons are among the least healthy people in Europe, new research shows.

A new profile from the North East Public Health Observatory (NEPHO) compares the health of the UK and devolved nations against the rest of Europe for the first time.

It shows how the UK has some of the worst rates of obesity, cancer deaths and teenage pregnancy of all European countries.

The research found:

  • In the West Midlands, 29% of people are obese, the highest rate in Europe. By comparison, the worst region in Sweden has an obesity rate of 16%, and the highest for any region in Germany is 19%.
  • Female death rates from cancer are among the worst in Europe. The UK has 185.1 deaths per 100,000 per year compared to an EU median of 139.5.
  • Across the UK, teenage pregnancies are higher than most other European countries. Almost 3% of all births are to mothers under 18, compared to the EU median of 0.9%.
  • Infant and perinatal deaths are both higher in the UK than EU medians.

Professor John Wilkinson, director of the North East Public Health Observatory (NEPHO), said the profile could play an important role in the government’s aim to reduce health inequalities.

‘Councils will now be able to benchmark themselves effectively against Europe,’ he said.

‘The European profiles show how much more work we need to do. However, life expectancy figures for men and women in the UK are slightly better than for our EU counterparts, and our early action on smoking has had a very positive impact on health outcomes.’

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Just published

Dr Zoe Norris

GPDF slashes costs and overhauls funding rules to 'restore trust' with GPs

The General Practice Defence Fund (GPDF) has cancelled contracts worth hundreds of...

Churchill Gardens

Scheme from Brazil helps address health inequalities in London practice

A scheme involving community health and wellbeing workers, which is based on a long-standing...

Talking General Practice logo

Podcast: How an initiative from Brazil could help general practice and improve outcomes

Dr Matt Harris and London GP Dr Connie Junghans Minton explain how an initiative...

Medical centre sign

One in three GP practices in Northern Ireland faced serious closure risk in past 18 months

One in three GP practices in Northern Ireland have faced a serious risk of closure...

BMA sign

BMA warns Treasury 'many practices' will close without emergency financial support

GP leaders have urged the Treasury to agree emergency funding to support general...


Practices can use £172m PCN cash to support staff pay rises, GP leaders say

Practices can use their share of Β£172m from the 2023/24 investment and impact fund...