In 1948, the World Health Organization (WHO) has defined health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. According to the National Health Plan 2009–2020, people’s health is significantly influenced their ability to cope with everyday life, their social and economic contribution to build up the country and the general success of the state. The right to health protection belongs to the main human rights and all persons must be guaranteed the necessary prerequisites for achieving the best health status – each person in Estonia must have the possibility to live in the health-supporting environment and to make healthy choices.
Expenditure on high-sugar products in households with different self-reported health statuses
Nutrition is an interesting, multi-faceted and complex area, which is at the same time intriguing on both an existential and political level. The article aims at examining the connections between the consumption of high-sugar products in households and self-reported health. Irrespective of restrictions, the results were surprising and contradictory.
Disability-adjusted life years of population in counties
Human capital is one of the many assets of a country alongside, for example, natural resources. In the past few decades, there has been an increase in the use of indicators that assess the health condition of the population, especially in the development of methodologies for analysing the health gap which, among other things, would link mortality and morbidity data into one indicator on either the state or other regional level. Disability-adjusted life years is one such indicator that is being used increasingly more and that joins morbidity and mortality data, and a regional analysis shows the differences in the health condition of county population.
Relationship between health and income in Estonia
The article discusses the relationship between health and income in Estonia, paying attention to the regional level. The theoretical part of the article focuses on the essence of health and provides an overview of various approaches used to measure health. Based on earlier studies, potential determinants of health are presented and these studies also help to provide an overview of the health status of the population and the respective trends in Estonia.
According to the Estonian Social Survey, 54.3% of the population aged 16 and over perceived their general state of health as good or very good in 2015. The share stood at 56.3% for men and at 52.6% for women. This indicator varies greatly by age group: a little over 86% of 16–24-yearolds consider their health to be good or very good, while the share stood at nearly 15% for persons aged 65 and over. Self-perceived health indicators have generally improved in most age groups over the past decade. In 2005–2015, the share of the population reporting good or very good health grew the most among 35–44-year-olds (from 66% to 76%) and 45–54-year-olds (from 48% to 53%), while the share of people considering their health bad or very bad decreased considerably among people aged 65 and over (from 47% to 38%). The self-perceived health of the inhabitants of Estonia varies significantly by region as well – the share of people who consider their state of health as good or very good was two times bigger in Northern Estonia than in North-Eastern Estonia (62% and 31%, respectively) in 2015.
To maintain the well-being and health of the population, it is important to ensure the availability of high-quality medical care to all people. In 2014, there were 558 hospital beds per 100,000 inhabitants in Estonia. The average length of stay at a hospital was 8.1 days. Hospital beds were in use 74% of the year. Like in other European Union (EU) countries, the number of acute (shortterm) care beds has decreased 14% over the last decade. At the same time, the number of long-term nursing care beds has increased 62%. The number of outpatient visits to physicians has dropped slightly over the last 10 years, while the number of outpatient visits to nurses and midwives has grown rapidly.
At the end of 2013, there were 4,395 physicians, 1,190 dentists, 7,428 nurses and 825 dental assistants in Estonia. 69% of the physicians and 75% of the nurses worked in hospitalsa. The average age of physicians was 51 and that of nurses 45. In 2013, there were 33 physicians (incl. 7 family doctors), 9 dentists and 66 nursing staff (nurses, midwives) per 10,000 inhabitants in Estonia. This means that Estonia has already achieved the goal (set in the National Health Plan for 2009–2020) of having 32 physicians per 10,000 inhabitants. On the other hand, Estonia is quite far from the target set for 2016 (83 nursing staff per 10,000 inhabitants), which is close to the current European Union (EU) average (84).
Over the last decade, life expectancy at birth (average life expectancy) has increased by six years for males and by three years for females in Estonia. Special attention will be paid to prolonging the life expectancy of males, as the gap in life expectancy at birth between men and women (it was about 10 years in the period of 2003–2012) is one of the biggest ones in the European Union, together with the indicator of Latvia and Lithuania. In 2013, the gap decreased to 8.6 years. In 2013, the average life expectancy for males was 72.7 and a year earlier – 71.4 years of age; the corresponding rise by 1.3 years can be attributed to a decrease in accidents and violent deaths among men by 19%. The life expectancy gap between men and women narrows with age. A 65-year-old man will, on average, reach 80 years of age and a 65-year-old woman – almost 85 years of age.
Säästva arengu näitajad. Indicators of Sustainable DevelopmentWhat progress has been made towards the four main targets of the Estonian National Strategy on Sustainable Development “Sustainable Estonia 21” (SE21) – growth of welfare, coherent society, viability of the Estonian cultural space and ecological balance? The publication includes 69 indicators of sustainable development that reflect the progress in key domains in Estonia. Under each indicator, there is an analysis of the current situation, an assessment of relevance in the SE21 context, and an overview of the measures defined in current development and action plans. The publication is prepared in cooperation with the Strategy Unit of the Government Office. While the main focus is on sustainable development, the publication provides a good overview of general trends in Estonia.
The health status of persons with activity limitations
The Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being”. Thus, health is not merely the absence of disease. On the contrary, the definition avoids the use of a medical diagnosis to describe health status and emphasises the broader meaning of individual well-being. The concept of health agreed by WHO Member States covers five important aspects of health status: physical and mental health, social functions, performance of roles, and general well-being.
At the end of 2012, 60 hospitals provided inpatient medical care in Estonia – this number is two times smaller than 20 years ago. A third of the hospitals were private hospitals. In recent years, the number of hospitals has remained stable, rising or falling by only 1–2 hospitals per year.