Economic Crisis has Medium-term Impact on Health in Greece, Greek-Bristish Survey Reveals

The National Herald Archive

Greek Health Ministry. PHOTO: Public Domain

Greece has been hit hardest by the recent economic crisis in Europe. While the recession started in 2008, it was not until 2010, when severe austerity measures were imposed in the country, that its consequences were felt in Greek society, Nature reports.

Previous studies on the health consequences of the crisis in Greece investigated short-term impacts on selected outcomes. This study examined the impact of the crisis on a key set of health indicators with longer follow up than previous studies.

Standardised all-cause mortality was declining by an average 1.5% per year before the crisis and kept declining by an average 1.0% per year between 2010 and 2015 despite an increase of 3.4% in 2015, compared to the previous year. Standardised mortality from the two main causes of death in Greece, cardiovascular disease and neoplasms, continued to fall during the crisis, while mortality from respiratory diseases declined during the crisis, in contrast to its increasing trend before 2009 . Similarly, the average annual decline in mortality from transport accidents was 7.0% during the crisis, compared to just 2.7% between 2001 and 2009. On the contrary, standardised mortality from suicides increased by an average 7.8% per year after 2009, compared to 1.6% before the economic crisis. Despite variation in total mortality between geographic regions, mortality trends were quite similar in all regions after 2009.

The prevalence of diagnosed mental health problems did not differ between 2010 and 2015 (6.9% and 6.3% respectively.

Between 2008 and 2015, the prevalence of smoking among adults decreased from 42.6% to 36.5%, while sedentary lifestyle decreased from 43.4% to 29.0% between 2006 and 2015. Fruit and vegetable consumption, as well as the prevalence of obesity didn’t change significantly during the crisis.

Read the full survey here: