How healthy is Luxembourg? Results from the European Health Interview Survey

2017 - 06 - 28

Malou Fraiture

How healthy is Luxembourg? Results from the European Health Interview Survey

In 2014, LIH’s Department of Population Health conducted in Luxembourg a national observational health study in the context of the European Health Interview Survey (EHIS). The study led by the European Commission was carried out in 30 countries in Europe. The results are now presented to the public in the form of three thematic fact sheets informing about the methodology, nutrition, obesity and physical activity, as well as tobacco and alcohol consumption of the Luxembourg resident population.

The Ministry of Health invited the Epidemiology and Public Health Research Unit of LIH’s Department of Population Health to carry out the EHIS study with the purpose to measure the health status and health determinants of the Luxembourgish population, assess the proportion of those suffering from chronic non-communicable diseases and to determine the relationship between disease, health risk factors and lifestyle. The survey was conducted using a harmonised methodology, making it possible to compile and compare data between all participating countries.

Over a period of 10 months in 2014, 4118 people aged at least 15, participated to the survey. They were asked to fill in an anonymous questionnaire on their health status, risk factors and lifestyle. 4004 questionnaires were fully completed and exploitable, and participants were representative of the whole country in terms of age, sex and district.

EHIS allowed to get an estimation of the obesity prevalence in Luxembourg based on self-reported data on participant’s weight and height. 15.6% of adults are obese, meaning they have a Body Mass Index (BMI) higher than 30 kg/m2, and 32.4% are overweight (25≤BMI<30). The obesity rate is close to the European average of 15.9%. It varied with age and level of education, being higher in middle-aged people and the elderly as well as in people with a low level of education.

Although it is recommended to eat fruits and vegetables on a daily basis, 35.8% of adults declared not eat fruits and/or vegetables every day. Men are less compliant with dietary recommendations than women: 43.8% indicated not to eat fruits and vegetables daily, compared to 27.8% women. Only 15.2% of the population follow the guideline of the World Health Organisation to consume 5 fruit or vegetable portions per day. Regarding sports practice, the Luxembourg resident population was found to be more active than the European average.

With the survey, smoking status and alcohol consumption could also be evaluated. 20.5% of the resident population are smokers, the European average being 24.0%. With 40.6%, the frequency of weekly alcohol consumption was found to be higher in Luxembourg than in average in the European Union. Binge drinking (at least 5 standard alcoholic drinks on a single occasion) is also more frequent in Luxembourg than in other countries, and mainly concerns men aged between 35 and 44.

View all the results on the three fact sheets downloadable on the sante.lu portal (in French):

Methodology of the study

Tobacco and alcohol consumption

Obesity, nutrition and physical activity

Aggregated data is also available on the Eurostat website.