Together, the European Commission and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), with the help of the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, published Health at a Glance: Europe 2022 State of Health in the EU cycle. The report is the first to be published since the COVID-19 pandemic, in a context of geopolitical, public health, and economic uncertainties.
Published on 5 December 2022 through a launch webinar, the report includes, for the first time, data from the most recent EU candidate countries: the Ukraine and Moldova. Some of the topics latest edition provides specific focus on are promoting better prevention and treatment of cancer and other non-communicable diseases as well as preventing and addressing mental health challenges in the aftermath of the pandemic and in the current context of multiple crises.
The report emphasises the need for considerable investment in preventative health. Prior to the pandemic, the EU and OECD countries allocated around 3% of their health spendings to disease prevention. With Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) accounting for over 80% of the overall burden of disease, the OECD has pledged anew their economic case for investing in disease prevention and health promotion.
As a protective factor for good mental and physical health, the decrease in physical activity levels among children and adolescents during the pandemic are seen to be directly correlated with the age group’s worsening mental health levels, nutrition habits, and with increased overweight and obesity rates. Adults were equally affected by an increase in sedentarism with for example, in France, a survey of 4 000 adults conducted during the first lockdown in April 2020 finding that 45% of respondents reported a reduction in physical activity, and 59% an increase in screen watching.1
The Health at a Glance: Europe 2022 report embodies one of the four stages of the State of Health in the EU:
- The biannual joint OECD-European Commission report offers a horizontal overview national health system performances,
- Country Health Profiles assess respective health systems’ strengths and challenges,
- The Companion Report highlights health systems transformation trends,
- Finally, Voluntary exchanges are available to health authorities who would like to exchange about the findings and potential policy responses.