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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

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