In a new article from an Icelandic health care professional, it has come to light that about half of Icelanders die from preventable, lifestyle-related illnesses.
Kjarninn reports that Guðmundur Löve, the managing director of The Icelandic Association of Tuberculosis and Chest Patients (SÍBS), contends “most Icelanders die from illnesses that we can ourselves have influence over, with how we decide to conduct our lives.”
About 2,000 Icelanders die every year, and they enjoy the longest life expectancy in western Europe – 82.4 years. However, Guðmundur points out that Icelanders already 65 years of age or older only have a life expectancy within the OECD average. This, he contends, indicates death from lifestyle choices.
Of those Icelanders who die each year, 68% are taken by cancer and heart disease. These illnesses are often – although not always – preventable, through a combination of a healthy diet, exercise, drinking in moderation and not smoking.
By Guðmundur’s calculations, if Icelanders managed to reduce the incidence of these illnesses by just 1%, the tax burden to the country as a whole would be reduced by 3.5 billion ISK each year.
You can read the entire issue of Kjarninn here (.pdf file).