TALLINN - Estonian Health Development Institute head Maris Jesse said at a round table meeting in the parliament on Friday that the premature death rate of Estonian men should not be viewed as a national characteristic, it should be considered unnatural and has to be reacted to, LETA/Public Broadcasting reports.
Out of the 15,205 people who died in Estonia in 2011, a quarter died prematurely (before the 65th birthday) according to international criteria, and three quarters of those deaths were men.
"Children will remain unborn, children who have lost their fathers early live among us and it is also a major poverty risk for retirement age women," Jesse described the effects premature deaths of men have.
The majority of the premature deaths of men are caused by cardiovascular diseases and accidents, poisonings and traumas, Jesse aid that a large part of these diseases and accidents are preventable and has common risk factors: smoking, alcohol consumption, unhealthy eating and lack of exercise.
One of the biggest topics that require political interfering is consumption of alcohol, Jesse said. "If we want to see a considerable change in the death figures, excess consumption of alcohol is the risk factor that Estonia has to work on most. It affects the economy, family relations, lifespan, life quality, work ability etc."
Jesse also refuted the myth that alcohol consumption is high because of stressful life: alcohol consumption in Estonia was the highest per capita in 2007 and 2008 during the economic boom.