Greeks come second in smoking among EU Member State citizens, they also rank in second place in childhood obesity, while they are very cautious in vaccinating their children, a report says.
All the above cause a public health threat, the EU report says, presented by Commissioner in charge of Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis.
In particular, although the number of adult Greek smokers has declined since 2000, 27 percent still smoke daily, taking second place in the EU, after Bulgaria. What is encouraging is that among 15-16 year-olds, only one in five said they had smoked last month, a rate lower than many other European countries.
At the same time, Greece is in the difficult second position of adolescent obesity, following Malta.
Boys are more overweight and obese than girls, while 17 percent of adults are obese in the country. This is one of the highest of the Mediterranean countries with Italy recording 11 percent and Cyprus 14 percent.
According to the report, the high rate of obesity is due to poor nutrition and little physical activity. Despite the fact that Greek cuisine is rich in fruits and vegetables, only 50 percent of Greeks said they eat fruit daily and only 60 percent eat vegetables, one of the lowest rates in the EU. At the same time, only one in nine teenagers said they do some kind of moderate exercise every day.
Nevertheless, life expectancy in Greece stood at 81.4 years in 2017, half a year higher than the EU average. Greece has a high life expectancy – which was among the highest in the EU in 2000 – and which has risen 2.8 years, but it should be noted that life expectancy has also increased in other member states.
The main causes of death in Greece are strokes and ischemic heart disease, while lung cancer remains the first cause of death. At the same time, there has been an increase in mortality from pancreatic and colon cancer since 2000.
The report points out that with the exception of the reduced number of traffic fatalities, the economic crisis has had a significant impact on the health of the Greek population, and in particular on mental health. Specifically, suicide and depression rates have worsened.
Although Greece still has the lowest suicide rate in the EU, after Cyprus, the rates have increased by 30 percent (4.3 per 100,000 people on average since 2010 compared to 3.3 in the previous decade). At the same time, the report refers to a series of studies that found an increase in severe depression symptoms in the general population, from 3.3 percent in 2008 to 12.3 percent in 2013.