Lifestyle & Health


Smoking, drinking, bad nutritional habits and lack of physical activity are life-style related health determinants linked to a number of major health problems, such as cancer, cardio-vascular disease and obesity.

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According to WHO estimates, up to 80% of cases of coronary heart disease, 90% of type 2 diabetes cases, and one-third of cancers can be avoided by increases physical activity, healthier diet and stopping smoking. 

In December 2003, the European Council invited the Commission and the member states to develop a plan including several initiatives to promote healthy lifestyles to citizens, and, since 2003, the EU's Public Health Action Programme (2003-2008) is tackling the key health risk factors and in particular lifestyle-related determinants of health. 

This lifestyle-based approach is the first of its kind in the EU health policy and recognises that effective prevention, in fact, presents a solution to EU's health systems' economic problems. The annual direct and indirect economic cost in the EU of cardio-vascular disease, for example, is estimated at 70-135 billion euro, which is more than the total annual EU budget.