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A new era for chronic diseases in Europe?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), chronic diseases are by far the leading cause of mortality in the world, representing 60% of all deaths worldwide and imposing an enormous burden on patients, their families and on society as a whole.

With its ageing population, Europe is bracing itself for a dramatic increase in chronic diseases in the next decade.

"We are pleased that the Council of the European Union has adapted conclusions which not only recognise the serious impact of chronic diseases, but also outline innovative approaches that can raise the priority of these diseases within European healthcare systems," said Professor Juliet Compston, Chair of the EU Osteoporosis Consultation Panel.

The Council Conclusions were adopted in Brussels at the 3053rd Employment, Social Policy Health and Consumer Affairs Council Meeting of December 7, 2010. The Council welcomes the outcomes of the Ministerial conference of October 20th 'Innovative Approaches for Chronic Illnesses in Public Health and Healthcare Systems' at which various priorities were underlined. The Member States and the Commission are invited to take action on a number of fronts, including health promotion and prevention and implementation of healthcare measures to improve care and secondary prevention. Chronic disease should be integrated, where possible, as a priority in European research and action programmes. As well, cooperation with the WHO and OECD on chronic diseases should be strengthened.

Furthermore, the Commission is invited to support Member States and stakeholders in the reflection process whose outcomes will be summarized in 2012.

"Osteoporosis is one of the most common chronic diseases. It results in debilitating and costly fractures, affecting approximately one in three women and one in five men over the age of 50 in Europe," stated International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) President Professor John A. Kanis. "IOF welcomes the EU Council Conclusions which, if implemented at the national level, will help to lessen the immense burden of osteoporosis and other chronic diseases while promoting healthy and active ageing."


Contact: L. Misteli
International Osteoporosis Foundation

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