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TILDA – The Irish LongituDinal Study on Ageing

TILDA – The Irish LongituDinal Study on Ageing

Intending to help make Ireland a better place to become older.

TILDA report ‘Obesity in an Ageing Society’

Nearly four out of five adults over the age of 50 are overweight or obese and a similar proportion has an ‘increased’ or ‘substantially increased’ waist circumference.

Just one in five of the over 50s have a normal BMI or waist circumference.

The report, titled Obesity in an Ageing Society, highlights the increased health risks and health services burden in older adults due to high rates of obesity.

TILDA collects information across aspects of health, economic and social circumstances from people aged 50 and over by series of data collection waves every two years.  This data, together with the extensive social and economic data, makes TILDA one of the most comprehensive research studies of its kind both in Europe and internationally.

See report page


Economic burden of cancer across the European Union

Economic burden of cancer across the European Union: population based cost analysis


In 2008, 2.45 million people were diagnosed with cancer and 1.23 million died due to cancer in the then 27 countries of the European Union (EU). The aim is estimating the economic burden of cancer in the EU.


In a population-based cost analysis, we evaluated the cost of all cancers and also those associated with breast, colorectal, lung, and prostate cancers. We obtained country-specific aggregate data for morbidity, mortality, and health-care resource use from international and national sources. We estimated health-care costs from expenditure on care in the primary, outpatient, emergency, and inpatient settings, and also drugs. Additionally, we estimated the costs of unpaid care provided by relatives or friends of patients (ie, informal care), lost earnings after premature death, and costs associated with individuals who temporarily or permanently left employment because of illness.


Cancer cost the EU €126 billion in 2009, with health care accounting for €51·0 billion (40%). Across the EU, the health-care costs of cancer were equivalent to €102 per citizen, but varied substantially from €16 per person in Bulgaria to €184 per person in Luxembourg.

  • Productivity losses because of early death cost €42·6 billion and
  • Lost working days €9·43 billion.
  • Informal care cost €23·2 billion.
  • Lung cancer had the highest economic cost €18·8 billion – 15% of overall cancer costs,
  • Breast cancer €15·0 billion, 12%
  • Colorectal cancer €13·1 billion, 10% and
  • Prostate cancer €8·43 billion, 7%.


Our results show wide differences between countries, the reasons for which need further investigation. This data contributes to public health and policy intelligence, which is needed to deliver affordable cancer care systems and inform effective public research funds allocation.



Vulnerable people need fundamental attitude shift and service provision

Mental Health Europe (MHE) calls for social investment and a comprehensive EU strategy

When dealing with the massive problem of the ever increasing poverty sweeping through Europe, it has become obvious that the so called austerity measures have perpetuated, rather than solved the economic and social crisis. The increase of homelessness is a dramatic proof that more and more people are finding themselves in extreme precariousness and exclusion, conditions which are incompatible with the core values of the European Union – human rights, solidarity and cohesion.

It is widely documented that cuts to public spending that national governments employed in trying to speed up recovery have failed, and more and more people are falling under the poverty line. Unless effective access to quality services is guaranteed for all, we can only expect a further tragic deterioration of the homelessness phenomenon and the mental health issues that inevitably go with it.

More than 120 million Europeans are currently living in, or at risk of, poverty. Amongst these, a newly-published MHE position paper estimates that more than 500,000 people are homeless.

MHE reports that 30% of homeless people experience mental health problems in their serious, chronic form. More than 150,000 people with severe mental health issues are homeless in the EU , so experiencing the most extreme form of exclusion. Their position on the brink of society engenders a loss of trust in social care on behalf of the general public, along with high emergency services costs. For the homeless people themselves, living on the streets with no support is associated with developing mental health problems, which may even result in death. Indeed, in Denmark, homeless men were found to be 7.3 times more likely to take their own lives than the general population, and homeless women were an astonishing 14.8 times more likely to do so.

The MHE position paper identifies the lack of access to services as the root cause and enabling factor in the extreme exclusion of homeless people with mental health problems, and stigma as playing a crucial role in perpetuating rejection.

To address the issue of homelessness, MHE therefore believes that all Member States, guided by European institutions, should invest in integrated, personalised, relationship-based services underpinned by a legal environment promoting human rights and equal access. A secure home and adequate income are the bases for all interventions necessary to build trust and achieve true social participation in line with the individual’s needs. Thus, user empowerment and a genuine sense of social solidarity should be underlying all measures. At EU level specifically, MHE calls for an EU Strategy on Homelessness with a comprehensive mental health perspective to strengthen the Union’s initiatives on this issue.

While engaging with the worst cases of poverty and exclusion can be daunting, systemic changes in service provision and in dealing with the most vulnerable are bound to offer valuable lessons that would help the population at large. It is high time that governments stopped looking for quick fixes and started searching for viable long-term solutions for recovery. Starting with the most vulnerable might just be the way to go!

For more information, please contact:

MHE Information and Communications Manager Silvana Enculescu at silvana.enculescu@mhe-sme.org

Gender equality progress equals economic growth

Progress in gender equality leads to economic growth, says EU report.

Improving equality between women and men is essential to the EU’s response to the current economic crisis, according to the European Commission’s latest annual report on gender equality. The report looks at progress over the past year in tackling the remaining gaps between women and men in employment, the economy and society in general. While some progress has been made in increasing the number of women in top jobs in business and in narrowing the gender pay gap, major challenges remain. EU countries need to get more women into the labour market if they are to meet the EU’s overall objective of 75% employment rate for all adults by 2020. One of the way’s of improving Europe’s competitiveness is to obtain better balance between women and men in economic decision-making positions. Studies have shown that gender diversity pays off and companies with higher percentages of women on corporate boards perform better than those with all-male boards.

“The economic case for getting more women into the workforce and more women into top jobs in the EU is overwhelming,” said Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship. “We can only reach our economic and employment goals by making full use of all our human resources – both in the labour market as a whole and at the top. This is an essential part of our economic recovery plans.”

Today’s report on progress made during 2011 on equality between women and men is part of the Commission’s broader report on the application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in the past year (IP/12/370). It highlights the main developments at both national and European level across the five key areas in the EU’s overall gender equality strategy for 2010-2015, namely: the economy, equal pay, decision-making, gender-based violence and gender equality beyond the EU.

In the labour market, the employment rate for women is 62.1%, compared to 75.1% for men, meaning the EU can only reach the overall Europe 2020 target rate of 75% employment with a strong commitment to gender equality. Under the Europe 2020 strategy, the Commission has highlighted the need to promote a better work-life balance, in particular through adequate childcare, more access to flexible working arrangements, and by making sure tax and benefit systems do not penalise second earners (IP/11/685). These can all help to make sure more women enter and remain in the labour market.

The gender pay gap has narrowed slightly across the EU. On average, women earn 16.4% less than men for every hour worked. The gender pay gap is caused by multiple factors such as labour market segregation and differences in educational choices. The second European Equal Pay Day highlighted this issue and the potential solutions (IP/12/211). Slow progress in narrowing the gender gap in company boardrooms led the Commission to launch a public consultation on possible measures at EU level to address the problem, which risks holding back innovation and growth in Europe (IP/12/213).

Finally, the Commission took an important step towards the goal of ending gender-based violence by proposing a package of measures to strengthen the rights of crime victims (IP/11/585). This included a series of measures specifically aimed at helping women who fall victim to domestic violence.


Promoting more equality in decision-making is one of the goals set out in the European Women’s Charter (see IP/10/237), which was initiated by President José Manuel Barroso and Vice-President Reding in March 2010. The Commission pursued these commitments by adopting a Gender Equality Strategy in September 2010 for the next five years (see IP/10/1149 and MEMO/10/430). The Strategy sets out a series of actions across four further areas in addition to equality in decision-making: equal economic independence; equal pay for work of equal value; dignity, integrity and ending gender-based violence; and gender equality in external policies.

A growing body of evidence points to significant economic benefits stemming from a better gender balance in economic decision-making. Having more women in top jobs can contribute to a more productive and innovative working environment and improved company performance overall. This bolsters competitiveness. Women account for 60% of new university graduates but few make it to the top of companies. Opening the door to senior positions acts as an incentive for women to enter and stay in the workforce, helping to raise female employment rates and making better use of women’s potential as human resources.

For more information: European Commission – DG Justice newsroom:


European Commission – Gender equality:


Video clip – gender pay gap:


Homepage of Vice-President Viviane Reding, EU Justice Commissioner:


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