The World Health Organization (WHO) ranked health in Spain as “extremely good” in a European Health Report, involving 53 member states in the WHO European region, which was presented in London.
Life expectancy – Health in Spain
The report highlighted that life expectancy in Spain was 79.5 for men and 85,5 for women. Spanish women live longer than any other European women which holds significant merit. According to Claudia Stein – Director of the Division of Information, Evidence, Research and Innovation, WHO, Europe – this level of life expectancy is due to the combination of lifestyle and eating habits, although the healthcare system in the country also plays a role in this outcome.
Alcohol and tobacco
The report states that, although consumption of alcohol and tobacco has decreased in the majority of the countries in question, Europe continues to smoke and drink more than the world average. In addition, it points out that the United Kingdom and Andorra have the highest rates of obesity (29.5% and 28.1% respectively).
In Spain, the consumption of alcohol has decreased on a parallel level with the rest of the EU countries, whilst the use of tobacco has decreased at a faster pace. As regards obesity, 23.7% of people of 18 years of age were obese in 2014, whilst in 2010 the figure was 22.1%.
With reference to the four major non–communicable diseases (cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases) the prevalence among 30-69 year old Spanish men is decreasing at the same level as the rest of the EU and Spanish women occupy one of the lowest positions on the continent.
Healthy Mediterranean diet
Spain widely enjoys the healthy Mediterranean diet which involves a considerable amount of olive oil and is low in saturated fat. However, the increase in obesity is not only due to people’s choice of diet but to a lack of physical exercise, even more so in youngsters. Stein warned that if the rates of obesity continue to climb, the good results seen in health up until now will be at risk.
Source: European Health Report from WHO