The timing of these changes, however, has differed importantly between countries. Over the whole period of 300 years, Northern Europe has consistently been ahead of the rest, whereas Eastern Europe has consistently lagged behind, often dramatically so. Interestingly, Southern Europe has switched from being a laggard in terms of population health to being in the vanguard, but while this is very much true for Spain it is not true for Portugal, where improvements in population health until recently occurred much later than elsewhere.
In my presentation I will discuss the explanation for these trends in population health, starting from the assumption that economic development is likely to be one of the main drivers of population health improvement. To what extent are these trends, and the differences between, e.g., Spain and Portugal, a simple reflection of trends and differences in economic development? And to what extent are they a reflection of other factors, such as cultural trends, public health interventions, and political conditions?