ATHENS – Despite a crushing economic crisis that has created record unemployment, deep poverty and lowered the standard of living, Greece life expectancy is now 80.7 years compared to a European Union average of 79.2 years, according to a new report from the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD).
Published in Health at a Glance: Europe 2014, the survey shows Greece, despite the vaunted Mediterranean diet and having some villages with a number of centenarians, is only 13th in the EU.
Spain leads with a life expectancy of 82.5 percent although that country is going through a crisis almost as bad as Greece’s. Then comes Italy and France, but lagging near the bottom are Romania, Bulgaria and Lithuania in last at 74.1 years.
The rise in Greece reflects a similar trend across the bloc, where life expectancy has increased by more than five years on average since 1990, the report said. However, the gap between those states with the highest and lowest life expectancies remains around eight years.
“Although broad measurements of health status such as life expectancy have continued to improve in nearly all EU member states, it will take some additional years to be able to fully assess the impact of the crisis on public health,” the report said.
The report gives the most recent data on health status, risk factors to health and access to high-quality care in all 28 EU member states, candidate countries (with the exception of Albania due to limited data availability) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries.
The selection of indicators is based mainly on the European Core Health Indicators (ECHI), developed by the European Commission.