Preventable premature deaths (PYLL) in Northern Dimension partnership countries 2003-13

Eur J Public Health. 2019 Aug 1;29(4):626-630. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/cky278.


Background: Objective was to measure preventable premature loss of life in countries from same geographical area but with considerable differences in social and economic development. By comparing inter-country differences and similarities in premature mortality, acceleration of health-in-all-policies is enhanced.

Methods: Preventable premature deaths were described by Potential Years of Life Lost (PYLL). Data consisted of death registers for 2003, 2009 and 2013. PYLL-rates were age-standardized by using standard OECD population from 1980 and expressed as sum of lost life years per 100 000 citizens.

Results: In Northern Dimension area, PYLL-rates had declined from 2003 to 2013. In 2013, worst PYLL-rate was in Belarus 9851 and best in Sweden 2511. PYLL-rates among men were twice as high as among women. Most premature losses (1023) were due to external causes. Malignant neoplasms came second (921) and vascular diseases third (816). Alcohol was also an important cause (270) and country differences were over 10-fold.

Conclusions: In ND-area, the overall development of public health has been good during 2003-13. Nevertheless, for all countries foci for public health improvement and learning from each other could be identified. Examining the health of populations in countries from relatively similar geographical area with different social history and cultures can provide them with evidence-based tools for health-in-all-policies to advocate health promotion and disease prevention. Gender differences due to preventable premature deaths are striking. The higher the national PYLL-rate, the bigger the PYLL-rate difference between men and women and the loss of human capital.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cause of Death / trends*
  • Estonia / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Forecasting
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Latvia / epidemiology
  • Life Expectancy / trends*
  • Lithuania / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality, Premature / trends*
  • Poland / epidemiology
  • Preventive Medicine / statistics & numerical data*
  • Republic of Belarus / epidemiology
  • Sex Factors
  • Sweden / epidemiology