Despite being in the European Union and a member of the more “modernized” West, Denmark has one of the lowest life expectancy rates compared to other western nations. Despite the seemingly sad news, there is a glimmer of hope where the average Danish life expectancy is concerned; almost all of the factors that have led to the life expectancy rate to decline are from preventable causes and lifestyle choices. Hopefully, these facts about life expectancy in Denmark will inform the reader on the problems facing citizens of Denmark, shed light on ways that poverty contributes to life expectancy and displays some ways the Danes can improve their overall average life expectancy rates.
10 Facts About Life Expectancy in Denmark
- Danish women have the lowest life expectancy rates in the European Union (EU); men fare little better, having the second to last lowest life expectancy rates in the EU.
- The average life expectancy for Danish women is 82.1 years of age; the average life expectancy for Danish men is 78 years of age.
- Most of the life expectancy research identifies lifestyle choices as the primary reason for the decline in the Danish average life expectancy. These choices include alcohol and tobacco use, poor diet choices and lack of exercise (which often leads to obesity).
- Recent research by the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that Europeans as a whole are using and consuming more alcohol and tobacco. As medical research shows, alcohol and tobacco use can — and often does — lead to numerous and various health and medical issues (including chronic and terminal diseases) which can impact average life expectancy.
- According to the WHO, tobacco use in Europe sits around 30 percent, leading to numerous health-related issues for Europeans.
- Most of the leading causes of death in Denmark are various types of cancers, as well as coronary heart disease, Alzheimer’s/dementia and diabetes.
- An article from June 2000, published in the European Journal of Public Health, argued that most of the leading causes of death in Denmark were from preventable diseases. The article very cryptically stated: “A considerable proportion of the extra deaths in Denmark could be prevented.”
- Obesity in Danish children poses an alarming problem, both as an immediate risk and lifelong health risk. The problems associated with obesity are numerous and well-known. If children struggle with obesity, the chances that health-related issues develop sooner is higher. Moreover, children who struggle with obesity are more likely to struggle with weight-related issues for the rest of their lives.
- Poverty has also been on the rise in Denmark over the last decade. From 2008 to 2015, the poverty rate increased from 16.3 to 17.7. With the poverty-rate increasing, those affected could — theoretically — have less disposable income for medical check-ups and physicals, as well as less money for preventative care and prescription medicine.
- However, not all of the 10 facts about life expectancy in Denmark are dire. Access to medical facilities and services in Denmark remains high, and studies put the average medical spending by the government per Danish citizen at the seventh highest in Europe.
An Optimistic Future
These 10 facts about life expectancy in Denmark should leave one with optimism — most of the medical issues that could lead to a shorter life expectancy are preventable diseases, i.e. these diseases could be prevented with increased exercise, a healthier diet and limited to no alcohol or tobacco use. Furthermore, medical spending and services in Denmark are still well-funded and supplied, providing Danes with adequate health care.
– Raymond Terry