World Health Organization, 2013. — 400 p. Whatever way one looks at it, Europe is a continent of enormous diversity. Despite the powerful forces of globalization, there are still signifi cant differences in attitudes, beliefs and lifestyles among the people of Norway in the north, Portugal in the west, Malta in the south, the Russian Federation in the east and all those in between. These differences are apparent in many ways, from their national cuisine, poetry and music, to their health and their wealth. Their governments are equally diverse, most obviously in terms of how they see the responsibilities of the state and the individual. However, they are, at least formally, united in the pursuit of certain shared goals relating to the well-being of their people, even if they differ in the means to achieve them. And they do differ, often quite widely. This is apparent in the choices they have made in many policies of direct relevance to health. Some have acted resolutely to tackle the enormous toll of disability and premature death from tobacco while others have left it to individuals. Some have put in place organized systems to detect cancer early and to treat it, while others have left it to opportunistic encounters between individuals and their physicians. Some have invested in measures to make their roads safe while others have not. This book is about the impact of these differences in health policy on population health in Europe since the early 1970s. During these years, the health of Europeans overall has improved markedly. Yet that progress has been very uneven. While western European countries have experienced gains in life expectancy at birth of 7 to 12 years, some in the former USSR have yet to recover to the levels reached in 1970. Moreover, within the different parts of Europe, countries have varied greatly in what they have achieved.
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