The internet is used more and more by people as a source of information for their own health. Last year nearly half of all people in the EU used the internet regularly and, according to Eurobarometer surveys, most internet users browse the net when they have a health concern. In 2006 we launched the Public Health Portal to provide high-quality, user-friendly information on health to citizens. Building on this, the Health-EU newsletter will allow readers to receive the latest news and developments on health from a range of sources across Europe in all European languages.
We encourage readers to be involved in the newsletter. Not least, it helps to ensure that health policies at European level are shaped in partnership with citizens and stakeholders. To promote this, we will include in each edition a particular topic of interest, centred on a European health day. September 14 is European Prostate Awareness Day – and we have provided useful links to relevant activities on this important area and on men's health generally. Prostate cancer is the most common male cancer among older men, with considerable differences in mortality rates across Europe. Indeed, in general life expectancy for men is lower than for women across Europe for a number of reasons, social and health determinants operate in different ways for women and men and side effects of treatment often differ as well. The EU Health Programme is one means to support the exchange of best practice in gender specific health promotion and prevention, and I am pleased that the text of the new health programme for 2008-2013 explicitly identifies gender-related issues as a priority area for action.
I hope you enjoy this edition of the Health–EU newsletter and wish you happy reading.