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Liver death rates higher in England

Liver disease death rates fuelled by alcohol in England are higher than the average in 15 European countries, according to the Health Profile of England 2009 report.

Countries with lower rates include Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Sweden.

The death rate for men in England from chronic liver disease is 12.3 per 100,000, compared with an EU 15 average of 11.5.

Italy has around half that rate at 6.9, the Netherlands 3.9 and Sweden 5.4 although Finland's rate is 27.7 and Germany's, 14.9.

Among English women, death rates stand at 6.3, compared with an EU 15 average of 4.5.

The figure is 2.4 in Italy, 2.1 in the Netherlands and 1.9 in Sweden. Only Denmark and Luxembourg have higher rates, at 7.8 and 9.8. The report compared European death rates for under 65s and confirmed high hospital admission rates for alcohol and high death rates due to drink.

Obesity is thought to play a part in the death rates: England has one of the highest EU rates of adult obesity and infant death, while the UK has Europe's highest teen pregnancy rate.

Premature deaths from heart disease and cancer, however, are falling faster in England than the EU average.

Department of Health