Spain and Israel top the European life expectancy league, while Britain lags behind in 19th place
Spanish women live the longest – an average of 85 years, compared to British women's 82.6 yearsIsraeli men live the longest – an average of 80.1 years, compared to 78.4 years for British menRussia and Kyrgyzstan have lowest life expectancies

says that although average life expectancy is rising across the region, increasing by five years since 1980 to reach 76 in 2010, major inequities are found between men and women and between countries.

The leading health risk factors for Europeans today include tobacco and harmful alcohol use

The leading health risk factors for Europeans today include tobacco and harmful alcohol use

Overall, life expectancy for women reached an average of 80 in 2010, while that for men was 72.5 years. Lifestyle and occupational differences largely explain this gap.

Conditions such as heart disease, cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease account for 80 per cent of deaths in Europe.

And diseases of the circulatory system such as heart disease and stroke are the most important cause of premature death before the age of 65, accounting for nearly 50 per cent of the total.

Cancer is the second leading cause, accounting for nearly 20 per cent, while injuries and poisoning are responsible for nine per cent.

The leading health risk factors for Europeans today include tobacco and harmful alcohol use, with alcohol accounting for an estimated 6.5 per cent of all deaths.

In 2010 adults in the UK drank an average 10.1 litres of alcohol, putting us equal 23rd with the Poles in consumption, and behind the average of 10.6.

In 2009, just over one in five Britons smoked – behind 27 other countries – with the European average being 27 per cent.

Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO regional director for Europe, said: ‘The European Region is undergoing important changes that are shaping health priorities, and the needs for disease prevention and care in the future.

‘The trends identified in this report help us to anticipate some of the challenges that Europe is facing and will face in the future.

‘But there are persistent and widespread inequities in health across the Region, which in some cases are worsening. These are unnecessary and unjust and must be a priority for us to address collectively.’