Health Status In The European Union

The countries in Europe present a variety of lessons on population health. Sweden is among the healthiest countries, while health in Denmark (another Scandinavian nation) is about as poor as in the United States. Reasons for Denmark’s status likely relate to women entering the workforce in temporary low-paying jobs in the 1960s and 70s and subsequently getting laid off. French women enjoy a large health advantage over French men. Scotland has poor population health outcomes. The European Union (EU) is focusing its attention on health inequalities as a possible explanation for the fact that sub-populations within nations do not achieve the health outcomes enjoyed by others in those same nations. This suggests that health care may not be so important in producing positive health outcomes.

This week, you examine these differences and explore the efforts of the EU DETERMINE Consortium to address the health gradient and improve health equity. You also examine population health status as it relates to health systems in the EU and as it relates to EU policy.

The World Health Organization and European Union (EU) DETERMINE Consortium has acknowledged gaps in health equities within and between member countries. A variety of efforts are underway to help close those gaps.

To prepare for this Discussion, review your Learning Resources, particularly the readings from the DETERMINE Consortium and European Commission and the National Social Marketing Centre video programs. Select two EU countries on which to focus (It is advised to select two countries from the list of EU members and avoid repeating the same ones mentioned in the required media of this week resources). Look at efforts in those countries designed to reduce health inequities and inequality and examine appropriate outcomes for those efforts. Evaluate the performance of the health systems in those countries as reflected in population health data for each of the countries. Be sure to access the CIA country profiles (found within the CIA World Factbook) and WHO websites provided earlier for the most current resources.

Post a brief comparison of the health status of the two EU countries you selected with that of the U.S. Then, describe two efforts in those EU countries to reduce health inequities. Explain what lessons can be learned from the EU efforts you selected that can be implemented in the U.S. nationally or by individual states. Explain how the community you live in might adapt these interventions. Expand on your insights utilizing the Learning Resources.