Healthy Greeks dodge diseases

Greeks live longer and healthier lives now than they did 23 years ago, according to experts who took part in a study on causes of death, which was made public yesterday by the National School for Public Health (ESDY). Researchers examined death certificates from 1980 and 2003 to compare the causes of death recorded each year, and found that fewer Greeks are dying of preventable or curable diseases than they were a generation ago. The study found that there were 232 deaths per 100,000 people in 1980 from one of 37 illnesses listed as being preventable. By 2003 this had dropped to 184 deaths per 100,000. Similarly, 127 people per 100,000 died from curable diseases in 1980, compared to 70 per 100,000 in 2003. Experts found the number of deaths from lung and throat cancer – two of the diseases deemed to be preventable or curable – only started falling in the last five years. This is thought to have coincided with a more vigorous campaign in Greece warning about the dangers of smoking.