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WHO: Alcohol and tobacco consumption largest threat to life expectancy in Europe

September 23, 2015, 10:39 UTC+3 LONDON
Obesity is another major risk factor, according to the report on health in the European region that includes 53 countries
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© AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti

LONDON, September 23. /TASS/. European countries should reduce consumption of alcohol and tobacco and actively fight with obesity to increase life expectancy on the continent, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in its report on health in the European region that includes 53 countries.

Experts note that though considerable progress was made in fighting against these three risk factors, it is still not enough. "If we do not deal with these risk factors, there is a possibility that the life expectancy curve will either slow down its growth or decrease," Claudia Stein, WHO Europe's head of information, evidence, research and innovation, told TASS.

Statistical data from the report published once in every three years looks very pessimistic for specialists. According to the 121-page report, the level of alcohol consumption among Europeans stands at 10.9 liters per year while the average rate is around 6.2 liters per year. The countries that were covered in the report, with the total population of 900 million people, take the first place in the world in tobacco consumption. According to the report, one in three Europeans smokes. Moreover, 59% of Europeans are overweight or obese — the rate is higher only in North America.

Another worrying signal showcased by the research is a large gap between different countries in the region. "Women in Spain live on average 22 years longer than men in Turkmenistan," Stein said, noting that highest life expectancy was registered in Spain, Switzerland, Iceland, France and Israel, and the lowest life expectancy — in Turkmenistan, Belarus and Russia.

The report also contains some good news. In particular, WHO bureau in the European region said that the largest rates of falling tobacco consumption were noted in Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine. Another good news is falling rates of mortality from external reasons (traumas, accidents, violence) in Russia.

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