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Daily Mail Article - Britain Sickest Country in Europe

Posted on May 20 2009
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By Daniel Martin

Last updated at 9:37 PM on 27th January 2009 


Weight wars: Brits are the most obese in the Western Europe world, with Austrians being the thinnest

Weight wars: Brits are the most obese in the Western Europe world, with Austrians being the thinnest


England has been exposed as the sick man of Europe, with the highest rates of obesity.

More women die of alcoholic liver disease and cancer here than in almost any other country.

Heart attack and smoking rates were among the highest, and infant mortality was among the worst on the continent - despite billions of pounds pumped into the NHS.

Critics immediately seized on the findings, saying Labour's failed policies risked bankrupting the Health Service.

The damning survey, the Health Profile of England 2008, was published by the Government. It compares the nation's health with the 15 western European countries which were part of the EU before 2004  -  the 'EU-15'.

It also compares us with the 12 largely Eastern European countries which joined in that year.

Britain had the worst adult obesity level of all, at 23 per cent  -  almost twice the level in France, the report said.

Alarmingly, it found the number of seriously overweight people is rising, despite expensive health campaigns. Doctors are also diagnosing more people with diabetes.

Death rates from cancer are falling, but are still above the EU-15 average for female patients.

Death rates from smokingrelated causes are higher than the average for the whole of the EU, including eastern Europe.



Deaths from alcoholic liver disease and cirrhosis are up for both sexes, and for the first time death rates are above the western European average for women. Separate figures show alcohol-related deaths have more than doubled since 1991, to 8,724.

The Health Profile reveals that teenage pregnancy rates are the highest in western Europe. They account for 7.1 per cent of all births, five times the figure in Denmark.

Infant mortality is among the highest in western Europe. And life expectancy is below the EU-15 average for women, but higher for men.

Conservative health spokesman Andrew Lansley said: 'This report exposes Labour's failure to deliver the world- class healthcare people in this country deserve.

'The NHS is so over-burdened by Labour's targets and bureaucracy that it can't focus on the things that really matter  -  like reducing deaths from heart disease and drinking.

'Conservatives will cut bureaucracy, scrap Labour's central targets and make the NHS accountable to patients on outcomes like cancer survival rates, so that doctors and nurses are freed up to deliver healthcare that matches the best in the world.'

Health minister Dawn Primarolo said: 'Sustained investment in targeted prevention and treatment have paid off. However, we have so much more to do and can't ever assume our work is done.'



Last changed: May 20 2009 at 8:47 AM



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