Britons drink more alcohol, eat less fruit and veg and are more likely to die from smoking than the average European, according to Government figures.
While life expectancy is at its highest level yet, with death rates from cancers and circulatory diseases falling and the infant death rate at its lowest level yet in England.
There are problems tackling public health issues, when the UK is compared other European countries.
Statistics show rates of obesity, diabetes and alcohol-related admissions are rising across England.
There are also 288.6 deaths per 100,000 people from smoking-related causes in the UK compared with an EU average of 263.7
The report also showed there is poorer health in the North of England compared with the South across many factors.
Cancer patients in almost all European countries survive longer after diagnosis than those in the UK. Only Eastern Europe does worse. The results are bad news for the NHS Cancer Plan, implemented in 2000.
Some of the latest results include patients treated after the plan began, but fail to show significant changes in relative success rates. The Lancet Oncology, in which the new data is published, does not pull its punches. “So has the cancer plan worked?” it asks. “The short answer is seemingly No.”
The new information comes from a group called Eurocare, which organises the largest cooperative study across Europe of cancer patients. In The Lancet Oncology, the group publishes two analyses, one covering patients whose disease was diagnosed between 1995 and 1999, and the second covering those between 2000 and 2002.
In general, five-year survival (generally a proxy for “cure”) is highest in Nordic Countries and Central Europe, intermediate in southern Europe, lower in the UK and Ireland, and lowest of all in Eastern Europe.
Almost one in six Europeans are living below the poverty line, the European Commission said.
An estimated 72 million people get by on less than 60% of their country’s average income – the “poverty threshold”.
The figure was used at a Brussels conference on poverty as evidence that more needs to be done to tackle the problem.
EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Vladimir Spidla said Brussels would commit “considerable funding” from the EU budget to promote an inclusive society.
“The Commission will continue to support the fight against poverty and social exclusion,” he said. “Our goal must be to eradicate poverty in Europe. But we must not forget, that whenever we talk about targets and percentages we are in fact not talking about figures, we are talking about people and their potential and talents.”
The latest figures show that, across the 27 EU countries:
16% live below the poverty threshold;
10% live in jobless households;
19% of children are at risk of poverty;
8% of Europeans in employment (aged 18 and over) live below the poverty threshold.
A European Commission report has predicted that large parts of southern Europe could be turned into desert by global warming.
The report also said severe droughts could kill tens of thousands.
The Commission has said it wants to keep a lid on climate change and has set a target to limit the increase in temperatures to 2C.
To achieve that, EU countries need to cut their carbon dioxide emissions to 30 per cent below what they were 20 years ago.
But environmental groups say even that may not be enough to stop Europe’s worst climate nightmares becoming reality.
Europe’s oil supplies from Russia were being held to ransom last night as the Kremlin fell into bitter dispute with a former Soviet satellite state.
Moscow abruptly halted millions of barrels of oil destined for the EU via Belarus in an increasingly hostile wrangle with its neighbour.
The move raised further questions over whether Western Europe can trust Mr Putin for its energy supply. Experts said that Russia had a deeply entrenched habit of manipulating oil and gas supplies as a substitute for diplomatic policy.
Russia’s strong-arm tactics have added resonance in Britain, amid persistent speculation that Gazprom, the Kremlin-controlled gas group, will seek to buy Centrica, the British Gas group, which has 16 million gas and electricity customers in the UK. Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, told The Times last night that Germany will use its six-month EU presidency to improve energy security on the Continent.
In her first interview with a British newspaper she signalled that she would take a harsher line towards Russia than her predecessor, Gerhard Schröder, who is now on the board of a German-Russian consortium constructing a gas pipeline linking Russian gasfields with Western Europe.
An investigation is under way after paramedic crews could not attend to a man who suffered a fatal heart attack because they were on “rest breaks”.
A rapid-response car was sent when a 999 call was made after the 73-year-old collapsed at the Edmonton Green shopping centre in north London.
But London Ambulance Service (LAS) confirmed the crews were on a break, under EU rules, when the call was made.
An ambulance arrived 20 minutes later but the man died shortly afterwards.
An overload in Germany’s power network triggered outages leaving millions without electricity on Saturday night.
Romano Prodi said there was a “contradiction” in having a unified power network but no central authority.
Power failed first in Cologne, Germany, before shutting down across parts of France, Italy, Spain and Austria.
Belgium, the Netherlands and Croatia were also affected.
“My first impression is that there is a contradiction between having European networks but not having a central European authority. It is somewhat absurd,” Mr Prodi said.