Early death rates, meaning before 75, are very unequal in Belgium, the Public Health Institute has discovered through its graphs. They were drawn up with the help of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), and published on Thursday. There is a large difference between men and women, as twice as many men than women die before 75, but also between Flanders and Wallonia. While early deaths went down by 25% between 1993 and 2009, Belgium has the worst figures for the first 15 EU members. It has the 3rd highest rate early death rate for men, and the 4th for women.
However, the situation in Belgium is not so bad in all the regions. The early death rate for men is 40% higher in the South than in the North, and 30% higher for women. The disparities are even bigger within administrative districts, as figures can reach 80% for men and 60% for women.
The highest early death rates for men are in Hainaut, particularly Mons and Charleroi. On the opposite end of the scale, the lowest figures are in Maaseik, Halle-Vilvorde and Roeselare.
In Wallonia, only the Nivelles district stands out, having figures similar to cities in Flanders. A study by the ISP, done with the help of the VUB, also shows that there is a West-East gradient parallel to the Franco-Belgian border, which stops in the North-East. This is due to early deaths caused by different types of cancer. These include cancer on the lips, in the mouth, on the pharynx, larynx, and oesophagus. These are cancers where “over-indulgence in alcohol and tobacco is the main risk factor”, says the ISP. They say other cancers don’t seem to show any particular geographical configuration.
Maria Novak (Source: Belga)