Two in three deaths in people aged less than 75 years could have been avoided in European Union (EU) countries in 2016, according to new data from Eurostat, the EU's statistical office.
Approximately 1.7 million people aged less than 75 years died in 2016, of which around 1.2 million deaths could be considered as premature, according to the recently developed Eurostat-OECD list of avoidable mortality.
Of these, Eurostat says 741,000 preventable deaths could have been avoided through effective public health and primary prevention interventions and 422,000 deaths could have been avoided through timely and effective treatment.
Compared to 2011, avoidable deaths as a share of total deaths decreased by 1.7 percentage points from 69.7 per cent of total deaths in 2011 to 68.0 per cent in 2016.
Heart attacks; cancers of the trachea, bronchus and lung; and strokes accounted together for over a third (37%) of total avoidable causes of death in people aged less than 75 years.
The highest shares of preventable deaths were registered in Slovenia, Hungary and Estonia and the lowest in Bulgaria, Cyprus and Malta.
The highest shares of treatable deaths were registered in Romania, Slovakia and Lithuania and the lowest in France, Belgium and Denmark.