Joint actions on Public Health in the European Union

European FlagWith the launch of this thematic series Joint actions on Public Health in the European Union, Archives of Public Health contributes to public health knowledge, policy and practice. Joint actions are public health programmes carried out by European member states in collaboration with the European Union aimed at gathering public health statistics to help the EU tackle major chronic diseases. Joint actions on public health are translational activities investigating optimal ways to bring into practice public health knowledge and experience in different member states.

Results of the European Health Examination Survey (EHES) Pilot Project were collected through standardized health examination surveys which included the core measurements of weight and height, waist circumference, blood pressure, and blood samples for the measurement of lipid profiles. These surveys were accompanied by a short questionnaire administered to the target population of 25-64 years old residents of 12 member states. The selection of core measurements was based on epidemiological and public health criteria, availability of international standards and practicality for large population surveys. Each of these criteria is an important risk factor for major chronic disabilities which can be prevented, including hypertension and type A2 diabetes.

The EHES Pilot Project has set up the structure for obtaining comparable high quality health indicators on important modifiable risk factors of major non-communicable diseases from the European countries. The European Union is now in a key position to make this structure sustainable. The surveys are suitable for use in European countries and can be expanded to cover many other important health indicators.

All programmes are supported by a political commitment of the participating states. Archives of Public Health provides a forum to present the objectives of the joint actions on public health programmes and the expected outcomes for European public health.

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