Economic Development and the Spread of Diseases of Affluence in EU Regions
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Diseases of affluence (diseases of the XXI c., Western diseases) by definition should have higher prevalence and/or mortality rates in richer and more developed countries than in poorer, underdeveloped states. Therefore, it has been indicated that it is the civilizational progress (directly or indirectly via changes in lifestyle, diet, physical activity, stress, etc.) that stimulates epidemic outbreaks of some illnesses (cancer, diseases of respiratory and cardiovascular systems, diabetes, mental disorders). On the other hand substantial financial resources, highly qualified medical personnel, and cutting-edge technology of richer states, should allow for effective preventions, diagnostics, and treatment of these diseases. The European Union as a whole, as well as all its member states and their regions, may be considered “highly developed” in economic sense. Does it, however, mean that EU can be perceived as homogeneous in the sense of diseases of affluence epidemiology? Are the relatively small differences in economic regional development (compared to worldwide inequalities) significant factor in the spatial distribution of diseases of affluence? To evaluate the possible dispersion in the epidemiology of some of potential Western diseases and their relation with regional development tools of spatial statistics have been incorporated. The research covers 261 EU NUTS 2 regions for the years 2003-2010. These research may provide some answers to the existence and epidemiology of hypothetical diseases of affluence as well as in recognizing spatial patterns of prevalence and mortality rates for these illnesses.
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