Life expectancy in Spain is above the EU average (81.1 years) but good health only tends to last until people in Spain are on average 55.3 years old, whereas across the EU people enjoy good health until 62.6 years on average.
The average number of years that a person in Spain can therefore expect to live in poor health is 25.7 (20.6 for men and 30.9 for women).
The latest report published by the Health Ministry confirms that women live longer than men, but are likely to live the extra years in poor health.
Here in Spain, life expectancy for men increased by 0.9 years between 2002 and 2007, but fell by 0.5 years for women over the same period.
The death rate from breast cancer dropped by 5% across all ages between 2000 and 2007, although there are considerable differences from one region to another. Nevertheless, the incidence of this type of cancer is lower in Spain than the EU average.
The death rate from lung cancer has also dropped, but deaths from colon cancer have not come down at all.
Infant and prenatal mortality has dropped and is now below the EU average.
There has been a noticeable drop in cases of diseases for which we have vaccines (measles, German measles, hepatities, etc.) however infectious diseases like AIDS are either stable or on the increase.
8.6% of the population in Spain declared some kind of disability in 2008 (7% of men and 10.1 % of women).
On the other hand, 73% of men claim to be in either good or very good health, compared to 61% for women, a few percentage points higher than in 2001.
In terms of daily alcohol comsumption, Spain lies third in the EU with 25% admitting to at least one alcoholic drink a day, although this number has come down, especially in terms of heavy drinkers.
Although the amount of tobacco being consumed has dropped slightly, there has been an increase in the number of women without any formal education and people over 45 taking up smoking.