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Report

Health status in Norway 2018

In this short version of the public health report Health Status in Norway 2018, we describe the current state of health in the population in 2018 and look at health trends over time.


  • Year: 2018
  • By: Norwegian Institute of Public Health
  • Price: 0kr
  • Authors
  • ISBN (digital): 978-82-8082-920-7

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Key message

Main messages

Life expectancy and causes of death

The health status of the population of Norway in 2018 is generally good. In 2017, life expectancy was 84.3 years for women and 80.9 years for men.

The two main causes of death are cardiovascular disease and cancer. The mortality rate for cardiovascular disease has fallen significantly over the last 50 years and deaths have largely shifted to the over-80 age groups.

In younger age groups, the number of deaths is low. Every year, between 550 and 600 people commit suicide; around half before the age of 50.

Compared to other countries, Norway has a relatively high number of drug-induced deaths; an average of 260 per year.

Deaths due to road traffic accidents have fallen considerably.

Health and disease

The main causes of disability and reduced health are musculoskeletal disorders, mental disorders, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Annually, nearly 70,000 people are treated in hospitals and out-patient clinics for cardiovascular disease and 32,000 new cases of cancer are detected.

Mental disorders often have an early age of onset and a prolonged trajectory. Over any one year, one in five adults will be afflicted by a mental disorder, with anxiety and depression being the most prevalent.

Among the under 75s, nearly six per cent of the population take antidepressants.

Non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, COPD and dementia also weigh heavily in the burden of disease. An increasing number of people live with diabetes, but there are signs that the number of new cases is levelling off.

Many people are still insufficiently physically active and consume too much sugar.

The incidence of obesity in adults is increasing.

Smoking has decreased, but more than 10 per cent of the adult population still smoke on a daily basis. Snus is currently the predominant tobacco choice in younger age groups.

Lung cancer continues to increase among women and is responsible for most smoking-related deaths.

Over the age of 15, per capita alcohol consumption in Norway is on average nearly seven litres per year. Men drink approximately twice as much as women. Alcohol use is declining among adolescents and young adults. 

As life expectancy increases, more persons are living longer with one or more chronic diseases, and prescription drug consumption is high. Between 80,000 and 100,000 people suffer from dementia.

Social inequalities in health

Men and women with the highest educational attainment live 5–6 years longer and have better health than those with the lowest educational attainment. There are fewer people who smoke and are overweight in groups with the highest educational attainment.

The social inequalities in life expectancy are increasing, particularly among women. The inequalities are greater in Norway than in many other European countries.

Infectious disease control and the environment

At present, diseases caused by climate change, environmental pollutants and antibiotic resistance account for a small proportion of the total burden of disease in Norway.

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