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Dare to Compare! : Benchmarking Dutch health with the European Community Health Indicators (ECHI)

Kijk en Vergelijk! : Een benchmark van de Nederlandse gezondheid op basis van de European Community Health Indicators (ECHI)


Following a period of stagnation in the 1990s, the life expectancy of Dutch women has been increasing since 2000. The average age of 82 years is now following the trend for the average age of women in the 27 European Union (EU) Member States. As in other EU countries, women in the Netherlands live longer than men but they are slightly less healthy when compared to other countries. In the Netherlands, a relatively high number of women die from cancer and diseases of the respiratory system, such as COPD. More and more women are dying from lung cancer in the Netherlands - partly because of the high percentage of women who smoke in this country. The above are some of the conclusions drawn from an RIVM study, which compares the health of people in the Netherlands with that of other EU countries. One reason for conducting this study was prompted by the 2006 Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport who wanted to return the Netherlands back to the top five European countries regarding public health. The comparisons also show that the Netherlands is one of the best countries regarding mortality from cardiovascular disease and accidents. The life expectancy of Dutch men is in line with life expectancy in the 15 more affluent 'old' EU countries. This life expectancy is higher than the average of the new Member States in the current 27 EU countries. Dutch men reach an average age of 78 years. This is the first time that Dutch public health has been internationally compared based on the ECHI shortlist. The shortlist is a set of more than eighty European health indicators on, e.g., disease, lifestyle and prevention. The report also focuses on the health of young and old people and includes an analysis of the availability, comparability and quality of the data necessary for international comparisons.

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