Health results presented to European Commission

28/02/17

Results from the Round 7 (2014/15) rotating module on health were presented to the Health and Food Safety Directorate at the European Commission in Brussels last week (Thursday 23 February).

The European Social Survey (ESS) Director was joined by members of the questionnaire design team (QDT), who helped to develop the Social Inequalities in Health module, in Brussels.

Results were presented to the European Commissioner, Vytenis Andriukaitis, and his colleagues in the Health and Food Safety directorate (DG SANTE) in Brussels and via video link to their offices in Luxembourg.

As DG SANTE aims to protect and improve public health across the European Union, they were interested in recent findings from the survey and how these might assist them in implementing improved health policies.

In the opening presentation, our Director, Dr. Rory Fitzgerald, introduced the history, methodology and aims of the ESS in the Salle Jean Monnet meeting room at Berlaymont.

Terje Andreas Eikemo and Mirza Balaj of the health QDT and Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) presented some of their findings from the data gathered on health.

During the session, Eikemo and Balaj expanded on some of their analysis included in our Topline Results Series publication - Social Inequalities in Health and their Determinants - published in October last year.

Longitudinal academic research about depression using the ESS was presented by Piet Bracke, vice-chair of the ESS Scientific Advisory Board and Professor of Sociology at the University of Gent.

The event was also attended by a representative from the European Commission’s Research and Innovation directorate-general, who fund some ESS projects through Horizon 2020 grants.

Dr. Rory Fitzgerald, ESS Director, said: "It was an honour to be invited to speak in front of Commissioner Andriukaitis and his colleagues from DG SANTE and the European Commission.

"One key ambition of the ESS is to provide an insight into the preferences and needs of citizens so that European governments and policymakers can implement informed policy that will help improve society. Presenting our health results at Berlaymont is a first step in helping to achieve this aim."

Vytenis Andriukaitis, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: "The European Social Survey is a great project of incredible value.

"The huge amount of scientific data collected on public attitudes and behaviour, enabling comparisons across European nations and also over time, makes it a very useful tool for effective policy-making, including in reducing social inequalities in health."