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Regular version of the site
Of all publications in the section: 53
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Article
Vlassov V. The Lancet. 2018. Vol. 392. No. 10152. P. 1015-1035.

Background

Alcohol use is a leading risk factor for death and disability, but its overall association with health remains complex given the possible protective effects of moderate alcohol consumption on some conditions. With our comprehensive approach to health accounting within the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2016, we generated improved estimates of alcohol use and alcohol-attributable deaths and disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) for 195 locations from 1990 to 2016, for both sexes and for 5-year age groups between the ages of 15 years and 95 years and older.

Methods

Using 694 data sources of individual and population-level alcohol consumption, along with 592 prospective and retrospective studies on the risk of alcohol use, we produced estimates of the prevalence of current drinking, abstention, the distribution of alcohol consumption among current drinkers in standard drinks daily (defined as 10 g of pure ethyl alcohol), and alcohol-attributable deaths and DALYs. We made several methodological improvements compared with previous estimates: first, we adjusted alcohol sales estimates to take into account tourist and unrecorded consumption; second, we did a new meta-analysis of relative risks for 23 health outcomes associated with alcohol use; and third, we developed a new method to quantify the level of alcohol consumption that minimises the overall risk to individual health.

Findings

Globally, alcohol use was the seventh leading risk factor for both deaths and DALYs in 2016, accounting for 2·2% (95% uncertainty interval [UI] 1·5–3·0) of age-standardised female deaths and 6·8% (5·8–8·0) of age-standardised male deaths. Among the population aged 15–49 years, alcohol use was the leading risk factor globally in 2016, with 3·8% (95% UI 3·2–4·3) of female deaths and 12·2% (10·8–13·6) of male deaths attributable to alcohol use. For the population aged 15–49 years, female attributable DALYs were 2·3% (95% UI 2·0–2·6) and male attributable DALYs were 8·9% (7·8–9·9). The three leading causes of attributable deaths in this age group were tuberculosis (1·4% [95% UI 1·0–1·7] of total deaths), road injuries (1·2% [0·7–1·9]), and self-harm (1·1% [0·6–1·5]). For populations aged 50 years and older, cancers accounted for a large proportion of total alcohol-attributable deaths in 2016, constituting 27·1% (95% UI 21·2–33·3) of total alcohol-attributable female deaths and 18·9% (15·3–22·6) of male deaths. The level of alcohol consumption that minimised harm across health outcomes was zero (95% UI 0·0–0·8) standard drinks per week.

Interpretation

Alcohol use is a leading risk factor for global disease burden and causes substantial health loss. We found that the risk of all-cause mortality, and of cancers specifically, rises with increasing levels of consumption, and the level of consumption that minimises health loss is zero. These results suggest that alcohol control policies might need to be revised worldwide, refocusing on efforts to lower overall population-level consumption.

Added: Aug 31, 2018
Article
Marten R., McIntyre D., Travassos C. et al. The Lancet. 2014. Vol. 384. No. 9960. P. 2164-2173.

Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) represent almost half the world's population, and all five national governments recently committed to work nationally, regionally, and globally to ensure that universal health coverage (UHC) is achieved. This analysis reviews national efforts to achieve UHC. With a broad range of health indicators, life expectancy (ranging from 53 years to 73 years), and mortality rate in children younger than 5 years (ranging from 10·3 to 44·6 deaths per 1000 livebirths), a review of progress in each of the BRICS countries shows that each has some way to go before achieving UHC. The BRICS countries show substantial, and often similar, challenges in moving towards UHC. On the basis of a review of each country, the most pressing problems are: raising insufficient public spending; stewarding mixed private and public health systems; ensuring equity; meeting the demands for more human resources; managing changing demographics and disease burdens; and addressing the social determinants of health. Increases in public funding can be used to show how BRICS health ministries could accelerate progress to achieve UHC. Although all the BRICS countries have devoted increased resources to health, the biggest increase has been in China, which was probably facilitated by China's rapid economic growth. However, the BRICS country with the second highest economic growth, India, has had the least improvement in public funding for health. Future research to understand such different levels of prioritisation of the health sector in these countries could be useful. Similarly, the role of strategic purchasing in working with powerful private sectors, the effect of federal structures, and the implications of investment in primary health care as a foundation for UHC could be explored. These issues could serve as the basis on which BRICS countries focus their efforts to share ideas and strategies.

Added: Oct 23, 2017
Article
Leon D. A., Shkolnikov V., Smeeth L. et al. The Lancet. 2020. Vol. 395. No. 10234.

  

Added: Apr 29, 2020
Article
Gerry C., Mickiewicz T., Nikoloskic Z. The Lancet. 2010. Vol. 375. No. 9712.

A recent article in the Lancet, by David Stuckler, Larry King and Martin McKee,

investigated anew the fluctuations in adult male mortality rates that have come to

characterise the so-called post-communist mortality crisis. Adopting a cross-country,

time-series perspective the authors examined how the economic policy strategies of the

1990s impacted upon observed fluctuations in mortality. They conclude that the adoption

of a strategy of rapid (mass) privatisation contributed to the adverse mortality trends. We

subject that finding to closer scrutiny using the same data from which the Stuckler et al

claim stems. We find that their claim that mass privatisation adversely affected male

mortality trends in the post-Communist world does not stand up to closer examination. It

is not supported empirically and is at odds with what we know about both transition in

the post-communist world and about health trends over time in this region.

 

Added: Nov 25, 2015
Article
Vlassov V. The Lancet. 2020. Vol. 396. No. 10258. P. 1135-1159.

The Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD) 2019 provides a rules-based synthesis of the available evidence on levels and trends in health outcomes, a diverse set of risk factors, and health system responses. GBD 2019 covered 204 countries and territories, as well as first administrative level disaggregations for 22 countries, from 1990 to 2019. Because GBD is highly standardised and comprehensive, spanning both fatal and non-fatal outcomes, and uses a mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive list of hierarchical disease and injury causes, the study provides a powerful basis for detailed and broad insights on global health trends and emerging challenges. GBD 2019 incorporates data from 281 586 sources and provides more than 3·5 billion estimates of health outcome and health system measures of interest for global, national, and subnational policy dialogue. All GBD estimates are publicly available and adhere to the Guidelines on Accurate and Transparent Health Estimate Reporting. From this vast amount of information, five key insights that are important for health, social, and economic development strategies have been distilled. These insights are subject to the many limitations outlined in each of the component GBD capstone papers.

Added: Oct 16, 2020
Article
Vlassov V. The Lancet. 2014. Vol. 385. No. 9963. P. 117-171.

Background Up-to-date evidence on levels and trends for age-sex-specific all-cause and cause-specific mortality is essential for the formation of global, regional, and national health policies. In the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 (GBD 2013) we estimated yearly deaths for 188 countries between 1990, and 2013. We used the results to assess whether there is epidemiological convergence across countries. Methods We estimated age-sex-specific all-cause mortality using the GBD 2010 methods with some refinements to improve accuracy applied to an updated database of vital registration, survey, and census data. We generally estimated cause of death as in the GBD 2010. Key improvements included the addition of more recent vital registration data for 72 countries, an updated verbal autopsy literature review, two new and detailed data systems for China, and more detail for Mexico, UK, Turkey, and Russia. We improved statistical models for garbage code redistribution. We used six different modelling strategies across the 240 causes; cause of death ensemble modelling (CODEm) was the dominant strategy for causes with sufficient information. Trends for Alzheimer's disease and other dementias were informed by meta-regression of prevalence studies. For pathogen-specific causes of diarrhoea and lower respiratory infections we used a counterfactual approach. We computed two measures of convergence (inequality) across countries: the average relative difference across all pairs of countries (Gini coefficient) and the average absolute difference across countries. To summarise broad findings, we used multiple decrement life-tables to decompose probabilities of death from birth to exact age 15 years, from exact age 15 years to exact age 50 years, and from exact age 50 years to exact age 75 years, and life expectancy at birth into major causes. For all quantities reported, we computed 95% uncertainty intervals (UIs). We constrained cause-specific fractions within each age-sex-country-year group to sum to all-cause mortality based on draws from the uncertainty distributions. Findings Global life expectancy for both sexes increased from 65·3 years (UI 65·0–65·6) in 1990, to 71·5 years (UI 71·0–71·9) in 2013, while the number of deaths increased from 47·5 million (UI 46·8–48·2) to 54·9 million (UI 53·6–56·3) over the same interval. Global progress masked variation by age and sex: for children, average absolute differences between countries decreased but relative differences increased. For women aged 25–39 years and older than 75 years and for men aged 20–49 years and 65 years and older, both absolute and relative differences increased. Decomposition of global and regional life expectancy showed the prominent role of reductions in age-standardised death rates for cardiovascular diseases and cancers in high-income regions, and reductions in child deaths from diarrhoea, lower respiratory infections, and neonatal causes in low-income regions. HIV/AIDS reduced life expectancy in southern sub-Saharan Africa. For most communicable causes of death both numbers of deaths and age-standardised death rates fell whereas for most non-communicable causes, demographic shifts have increased numbers of deaths but decreased age-standardised death rates. Global deaths from injury increased by 10·7%, from 4·3 million deaths in 1990 to 4·8 million in 2013; but age-standardised rates declined over the same period by 21%. For some causes of more than 100 000 deaths per year in 2013, age-standardised death rates increased between 1990 and 2013, including HIV/AIDS, pancreatic cancer, atrial fibrillation and flutter, drug use disorders, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and sickle-cell anaemias. Diarrhoeal diseases, lower respiratory infections, neonatal causes, and malaria are still in the top five causes of death in children younger than 5 years. The most important pathogens are rotavirus for diarrhoea and pneumococcus for lower respiratory infections. Country-specific probabilities of death over three phases of life were substantially varied between and within regions. Interpretation For most countries, the general pattern of reductions in age-sex specific mortality has been associated with a progressive shift towards a larger share of the remaining deaths caused by non-communicable disease and injuries. Assessing epidemiological convergence across countries depends on whether an absolute or relative measure of inequality is used. Nevertheless, age-standardised death rates for seven substantial causes are increasing, suggesting the potential for reversals in some countries. Important gaps exist in the empirical data for cause of death estimates for some countries; for example, no national data for India are available for the past decade.

Added: Feb 13, 2015
Article
Vlassov V. The Lancet. 2020. Vol. 396. No. 10258. P. 1160-1203.

Background

Accurate and up-to-date assessment of demographic metrics is crucial for understanding a wide range of social, economic, and public health issues that affect populations worldwide. The Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD) 2019 produced updated and comprehensive demographic assessments of the key indicators of fertility, mortality, migration, and population for 204 countries and territories and selected subnational locations from 1950 to 2019.

Methods

8078 country-years of vital registration and sample registration data, 938 surveys, 349 censuses, and 238 other sources were identified and used to estimate age-specific fertility. Spatiotemporal Gaussian process regression (ST-GPR) was used to generate age-specific fertility rates for 5-year age groups between ages 15 and 49 years. With extensions to age groups 10–14 and 50–54 years, the total fertility rate (TFR) was then aggregated using the estimated age-specific fertility between ages 10 and 54 years. 7417 sources were used for under-5 mortality estimation and 7355 for adult mortality. ST-GPR was used to synthesise data sources after correction for known biases. Adult mortality was measured as the probability of death between ages 15 and 60 years based on vital registration, sample registration, and sibling histories, and was also estimated using ST-GPR. HIV-free life tables were then estimated using estimates of under-5 and adult mortality rates using a relational model life table system created for GBD, which closely tracks observed age-specific mortality rates from complete vital registration when available. Independent estimates of HIV-specific mortality generated by an epidemiological analysis of HIV prevalence surveys and antenatal clinic serosurveillance and other sources were incorporated into the estimates in countries with large epidemics. Annual and single-year age estimates of net migration and population for each country and territory were generated using a Bayesian hierarchical cohort component model that analysed estimated age-specific fertility and mortality rates along with 1250 censuses and 747 population registry years. We classified location-years into seven categories on the basis of the natural rate of increase in population (calculated by subtracting the crude death rate from the crude birth rate) and the net migration rate. We computed healthy life expectancy (HALE) using years lived with disability (YLDs) per capita, life tables, and standard demographic methods. Uncertainty was propagated throughout the demographic estimation process, including fertility, mortality, and population, with 1000 draw-level estimates produced for each metric.

Findings

The global TFR decreased from 2·72 (95% uncertainty interval [UI] 2·66–2·79) in 2000 to 2·31 (2·17–2·46) in 2019. Global annual livebirths increased from 134·5 million (131·5–137·8) in 2000 to a peak of 139·6 million (133·0–146·9) in 2016. Global livebirths then declined to 135·3 million (127·2–144·1) in 2019. Of the 204 countries and territories included in this study, in 2019, 102 had a TFR lower than 2·1, which is considered a good approximation of replacement-level fertility. All countries in sub-Saharan Africa had TFRs above replacement level in 2019 and accounted for 27·1% (95% UI 26·4–27·8) of global livebirths. Global life expectancy at birth increased from 67·2 years (95% UI 66·8–67·6) in 2000 to 73·5 years (72·8–74·3) in 2019. The total number of deaths increased from 50·7 million (49·5–51·9) in 2000 to 56·5 million (53·7–59·2) in 2019. Under-5 deaths declined from 9·6 million (9·1–10·3) in 2000 to 5·0 million (4·3–6·0) in 2019. Global population increased by 25·7%, from 6·2 billion (6·0–6·3) in 2000 to 7·7 billion (7·5–8·0) in 2019. In 2019, 34 countries had negative natural rates of increase; in 17 of these, the population declined because immigration was not sufficient to counteract the negative rate of decline. Globally, HALE increased from 58·6 years (56·1–60·8) in 2000 to 63·5 years (60·8–66·1) in 2019. HALE increased in 202 of 204 countries and territories between 2000 and 2019.

Interpretation

Over the past 20 years, fertility rates have been dropping steadily and life expectancy has been increasing, with few exceptions. Much of this change follows historical patterns linking social and economic determinants, such as those captured by the GBD Socio-demographic Index, with demographic outcomes. More recently, several countries have experienced a combination of low fertility and stagnating improvement in mortality rates, pushing more populations into the late stages of the demographic transition. Tracking demographic change and the emergence of new patterns will be essential for global health monitoring.

Added: Oct 16, 2020
Article
Vlassov V. The Lancet. 2020. Vol. 396. No. 10258. P. 1204-1222.

Background

In an era of shifting global agendas and expanded emphasis on non-communicable diseases and injuries along with communicable diseases, sound evidence on trends by cause at the national level is essential. The Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD) provides a systematic scientific assessment of published, publicly available, and contributed data on incidence, prevalence, and mortality for a mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive list of diseases and injuries.

Methods

GBD estimates incidence, prevalence, mortality, years of life lost (YLLs), years lived with disability (YLDs), and disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) due to 369 diseases and injuries, for two sexes, and for 204 countries and territories. Input data were extracted from censuses, household surveys, civil registration and vital statistics, disease registries, health service use, air pollution monitors, satellite imaging, disease notifications, and other sources. Cause-specific death rates and cause fractions were calculated using the Cause of Death Ensemble model and spatiotemporal Gaussian process regression. Cause-specific deaths were adjusted to match the total all-cause deaths calculated as part of the GBD population, fertility, and mortality estimates. Deaths were multiplied by standard life expectancy at each age to calculate YLLs. A Bayesian meta-regression modelling tool, DisMod-MR 2.1, was used to ensure consistency between incidence, prevalence, remission, excess mortality, and cause-specific mortality for most causes. Prevalence estimates were multiplied by disability weights for mutually exclusive sequelae of diseases and injuries to calculate YLDs. We considered results in the context of the Socio-demographic Index (SDI), a composite indicator of income per capita, years of schooling, and fertility rate in females younger than 25 years. Uncertainty intervals (UIs) were generated for every metric using the 25th and 975th ordered 1000 draw values of the posterior distribution.

Findings

Global health has steadily improved over the past 30 years as measured by age-standardised DALY rates. After taking into account population growth and ageing, the absolute number of DALYs has remained stable. Since 2010, the pace of decline in global age-standardised DALY rates has accelerated in age groups younger than 50 years compared with the 1990–2010 time period, with the greatest annualised rate of decline occurring in the 0–9-year age group. Six infectious diseases were among the top ten causes of DALYs in children younger than 10 years in 2019: lower respiratory infections (ranked second), diarrhoeal diseases (third), malaria (fifth), meningitis (sixth), whooping cough (ninth), and sexually transmitted infections (which, in this age group, is fully accounted for by congenital syphilis; ranked tenth). In adolescents aged 10–24 years, three injury causes were among the top causes of DALYs: road injuries (ranked first), self-harm (third), and interpersonal violence (fifth). Five of the causes that were in the top ten for ages 10–24 years were also in the top ten in the 25–49-year age group: road injuries (ranked first), HIV/AIDS (second), low back pain (fourth), headache disorders (fifth), and depressive disorders (sixth). In 2019, ischaemic heart disease and stroke were the top-ranked causes of DALYs in both the 50–74-year and 75-years-and-older age groups. Since 1990, there has been a marked shift towards a greater proportion of burden due to YLDs from non-communicable diseases and injuries. In 2019, there were 11 countries where non-communicable disease and injury YLDs constituted more than half of all disease burden. Decreases in age-standardised DALY rates have accelerated over the past decade in countries at the lower end of the SDI range, while improvements have started to stagnate or even reverse in countries with higher SDI.

Interpretation

As disability becomes an increasingly large component of disease burden and a larger component of health expenditure, greater research and development investment is needed to identify new, more effective intervention strategies. With a rapidly ageing global population, the demands on health services to deal with disabling outcomes, which increase with age, will require policy makers to anticipate these changes. The mix of universal and more geographically specific influences on health reinforces the need for regular reporting on population health in detail and by underlying cause to help decision makers to identify success stories of disease control to emulate, as well as opportunities to improve.

Added: Oct 16, 2020
Article
Vlassov V. The Lancet. 2020. Vol. 396. No. 10258. P. 1223-1249.

Background

Rigorous analysis of levels and trends in exposure to leading risk factors and quantification of their effect on human health are important to identify where public health is making progress and in which cases current efforts are inadequate. The Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD) 2019 provides a standardised and comprehensive assessment of the magnitude of risk factor exposure, relative risk, and attributable burden of disease.

Methods

GBD 2019 estimated attributable mortality, years of life lost (YLLs), years of life lived with disability (YLDs), and disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) for 87 risk factors and combinations of risk factors, at the global level, regionally, and for 204 countries and territories. GBD uses a hierarchical list of risk factors so that specific risk factors (eg, sodium intake), and related aggregates (eg, diet quality), are both evaluated. This method has six analytical steps. (1) We included 560 risk–outcome pairs that met criteria for convincing or probable evidence on the basis of research studies. 12 risk–outcome pairs included in GBD 2017 no longer met inclusion criteria and 47 risk–outcome pairs for risks already included in GBD 2017 were added based on new evidence. (2) Relative risks were estimated as a function of exposure based on published systematic reviews, 81 systematic reviews done for GBD 2019, and meta-regression. (3) Levels of exposure in each age-sex-location-year included in the study were estimated based on all available data sources using spatiotemporal Gaussian process regression, DisMod-MR 2.1, a Bayesian meta-regression method, or alternative methods. (4) We determined, from published trials or cohort studies, the level of exposure associated with minimum risk, called the theoretical minimum risk exposure level. (5) Attributable deaths, YLLs, YLDs, and DALYs were computed by multiplying population attributable fractions (PAFs) by the relevant outcome quantity for each age-sex-location-year. (6) PAFs and attributable burden for combinations of risk factors were estimated taking into account mediation of different risk factors through other risk factors. Across all six analytical steps, 30 652 distinct data sources were used in the analysis. Uncertainty in each step of the analysis was propagated into the final estimates of attributable burden. Exposure levels for dichotomous, polytomous, and continuous risk factors were summarised with use of the summary exposure value to facilitate comparisons over time, across location, and across risks. Because the entire time series from 1990 to 2019 has been re-estimated with use of consistent data and methods, these results supersede previously published GBD estimates of attributable burden.

Findings

The largest declines in risk exposure from 2010 to 2019 were among a set of risks that are strongly linked to social and economic development, including household air pollution; unsafe water, sanitation, and handwashing; and child growth failure. Global declines also occurred for tobacco smoking and lead exposure. The largest increases in risk exposure were for ambient particulate matter pollution, drug use, high fasting plasma glucose, and high body-mass index. In 2019, the leading Level 2 risk factor globally for attributable deaths was high systolic blood pressure, which accounted for 10·8 million (95% uncertainty interval [UI] 9·51–12·1) deaths (19·2% [16·9–21·3] of all deaths in 2019), followed by tobacco (smoked, second-hand, and chewing), which accounted for 8·71 million (8·12–9·31) deaths (15·4% [14·6–16·2] of all deaths in 2019). The leading Level 2 risk factor for attributable DALYs globally in 2019 was child and maternal malnutrition, which largely affects health in the youngest age groups and accounted for 295 million (253–350) DALYs (11·6% [10·3–13·1] of all global DALYs that year). The risk factor burden varied considerably in 2019 between age groups and locations. Among children aged 0–9 years, the three leading detailed risk factors for attributable DALYs were all related to malnutrition. Iron deficiency was the leading risk factor for those aged 10–24 years, alcohol use for those aged 25–49 years, and high systolic blood pressure for those aged 50–74 years and 75 years and older.

Interpretation

Overall, the record for reducing exposure to harmful risks over the past three decades is poor. Success with reducing smoking and lead exposure through regulatory policy might point the way for a stronger role for public policy on other risks in addition to continued efforts to provide information on risk factor harm to the general public.

Added: Oct 16, 2020
Article
Vlassov V. The Lancet. 2018. Vol. 392. No. 10159. P. 1684-1735.

Background

Assessments of age-specific mortality and life expectancy have been done by the UN Population Division, Department of Economics and Social Affairs (UNPOP), the United States Census Bureau, WHO, and as part of previous iterations of the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD). Previous iterations of the GBD used population estimates from UNPOP, which were not derived in a way that was internally consistent with the estimates of the numbers of deaths in the GBD. The present iteration of the GBD, GBD 2017, improves on previous assessments and provides timely estimates of the mortality experience of populations globally.

Methods

The GBD uses all available data to produce estimates of mortality rates between 1950 and 2017 for 23 age groups, both sexes, and 918 locations, including 195 countries and territories and subnational locations for 16 countries. Data used include vital registration systems, sample registration systems, household surveys (complete birth histories, summary birth histories, sibling histories), censuses (summary birth histories, household deaths), and Demographic Surveillance Sites. In total, this analysis used 8259 data sources. Estimates of the probability of death between birth and the age of 5 years and between ages 15 and 60 years are generated and then input into a model life table system to produce complete life tables for all locations and years. Fatal discontinuities and mortality due to HIV/AIDS are analysed separately and then incorporated into the estimation. We analyse the relationship between age-specific mortality and development status using the Socio-demographic Index, a composite measure based on fertility under the age of 25 years, education, and income. There are four main methodological improvements in GBD 2017 compared with GBD 2016: 622 additional data sources have been incorporated; new estimates of population, generated by the GBD study, are used; statistical methods used in different components of the analysis have been further standardised and improved; and the analysis has been extended backwards in time by two decades to start in 1950.

Findings

Globally, 18·7% (95% uncertainty interval 18·4–19·0) of deaths were registered in 1950 and that proportion has been steadily increasing since, with 58·8% (58·2–59·3) of all deaths being registered in 2015. At the global level, between 1950 and 2017, life expectancy increased from 48·1 years (46·5–49·6) to 70·5 years (70·1–70·8) for men and from 52·9 years (51·7–54·0) to 75·6 years (75·3–75·9) for women. Despite this overall progress, there remains substantial variation in life expectancy at birth in 2017, which ranges from 49·1 years (46·5–51·7) for men in the Central African Republic to 87·6 years (86·9–88·1) among women in Singapore. The greatest progress across age groups was for children younger than 5 years; under-5 mortality dropped from 216·0 deaths (196·3–238·1) per 1000 livebirths in 1950 to 38·9 deaths (35·6–42·83) per 1000 livebirths in 2017, with huge reductions across countries. Nevertheless, there were still 5·4 million (5·2–5·6) deaths among children younger than 5 years in the world in 2017. Progress has been less pronounced and more variable for adults, especially for adult males, who had stagnant or increasing mortality rates in several countries. The gap between male and female life expectancy between 1950 and 2017, while relatively stable at the global level, shows distinctive patterns across super-regions and has consistently been the largest in central Europe, eastern Europe, and central Asia, and smallest in south Asia. Performance was also variable across countries and time in observed mortality rates compared with those expected on the basis of development.

Interpretation

This analysis of age-sex-specific mortality shows that there are remarkably complex patterns in population mortality across countries. The findings of this study highlight global successes, such as the large decline in under-5 mortality, which reflects significant local, national, and global commitment and investment over several decades. However, they also bring attention to mortality patterns that are a cause for concern, particularly among adult men and, to a lesser extent, women, whose mortality rates have stagnated in many countries over the time period of this study, and in some cases are increasing.

Added: Nov 16, 2018
Article
Vlassov V. The Lancet. 2017. Vol. 390. No. 10100. P. 1151-1210.

Background

Monitoring levels and trends in premature mortality is crucial to understanding how societies can address prominent sources of early death. The Global Burden of Disease 2016 Study (GBD 2016) provides a comprehensive assessment of cause-specific mortality for 264 causes in 195 locations from 1980 to 2016. This assessment includes evaluation of the expected epidemiological transition with changes in development and where local patterns deviate from these trends.

Methods

We estimated cause-specific deaths and years of life lost (YLLs) by age, sex, geography, and year. YLLs were calculated from the sum of each death multiplied by the standard life expectancy at each age. We used the GBD cause of death database composed of: vital registration (VR) data corrected for under-registration and garbage coding; national and subnational verbal autopsy (VA) studies corrected for garbage coding; and other sources including surveys and surveillance systems for specific causes such as maternal mortality. To facilitate assessment of quality, we reported on the fraction of deaths assigned to GBD Level 1 or Level 2 causes that cannot be underlying causes of death (major garbage codes) by location and year. Based on completeness, garbage coding, cause list detail, and time periods covered, we provided an overall data quality rating for each location with scores ranging from 0 stars (worst) to 5 stars (best). We used robust statistical methods including the Cause of Death Ensemble model (CODEm) to generate estimates for each location, year, age, and sex. We assessed observed and expected levels and trends of cause-specific deaths in relation to the Socio-demographic Index (SDI), a summary indicator derived from measures of average income per capita, educational attainment, and total fertility, with locations grouped into quintiles by SDI. Relative to GBD 2015, we expanded the GBD cause hierarchy by 18 causes of death for GBD 2016.

Findings

The quality of available data varied by location. Data quality in 25 countries rated in the highest category (5 stars), while 48, 30, 21, and 44 countries were rated at each of the succeeding data quality levels. Vital registration or verbal autopsy data were not available in 27 countries, resulting in the assignment of a zero value for data quality. Deaths from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) represented 72·3% (95% uncertainty interval [UI] 71·2–73·2) of deaths in 2016 with 19·3% (18·5–20·4) of deaths in that year occurring from communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional (CMNN) diseases and a further 8·43% (8·00–8·67) from injuries. Although age-standardised rates of death from NCDs decreased globally between 2006 and 2016, total numbers of these deaths increased; both numbers and age-standardised rates of death from CMNN causes decreased in the decade 2006–16—age-standardised rates of deaths from injuries decreased but total numbers varied little. In 2016, the three leading global causes of death in children under-5 were lower respiratory infections, neonatal preterm birth complications, and neonatal encephalopathy due to birth asphyxia and trauma, combined resulting in 1·80 million deaths (95% UI 1·59 million to 1·89 million). Between 1990 and 2016, a profound shift toward deaths at older ages occurred with a 178% (95% UI 176–181) increase in deaths in ages 90–94 years and a 210% (208–212) increase in deaths older than age 95 years. The ten leading causes by rates of age-standardised YLL significantly decreased from 2006 to 2016 (median annualised rate of change was a decrease of 2·89%); the median annualised rate of change for all other causes was lower (a decrease of 1·59%) during the same interval. Globally, the five leading causes of total YLLs in 2016 were cardiovascular diseases; diarrhoea, lower respiratory infections, and other common infectious diseases; neoplasms; neonatal disorders; and HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. At a finer level of disaggregation within cause groupings, the ten leading causes of total YLLs in 2016 were ischaemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, lower respiratory infections, diarrhoeal diseases, road injuries, malaria, neonatal preterm birth complications, HIV/AIDS, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and neonatal encephalopathy due to birth asphyxia and trauma. Ischaemic heart disease was the leading cause of total YLLs in 113 countries for men and 97 countries for women. Comparisons of observed levels of YLLs by countries, relative to the level of YLLs expected on the basis of SDI alone, highlighted distinct regional patterns including the greater than expected level of YLLs from malaria and from HIV/AIDS across sub-Saharan Africa; diabetes mellitus, especially in Oceania; interpersonal violence, notably within Latin America and the Caribbean; and cardiomyopathy and myocarditis, particularly in eastern and central Europe. The level of YLLs from ischaemic heart disease was less than expected in 117 of 195 locations. Other leading causes of YLLs for which YLLs were notably lower than expected included neonatal preterm birth complications in many locations in both south Asia and southeast Asia, and cerebrovascular disease in western Europe.

Interpretation

The past 37 years have featured declining rates of communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional diseases across all quintiles of SDI, with faster than expected gains for many locations relative to their SDI. A global shift towards deaths at older ages suggests success in reducing many causes of early death. YLLs have increased globally for causes such as diabetes mellitus or some neoplasms, and in some locations for causes such as drug use disorders, and conflict and terrorism. Increasing levels of YLLs might reflect outcomes from conditions that required high levels of care but for which effective treatments remain elusive, potentially increasing costs to health systems.

 

Added: Sep 15, 2017
Article
Vlassov V. The Lancet. 2018. Vol. 392. No. 10159. P. 1736-1788.

Background

Global development goals increasingly rely on country-specific estimates for benchmarking a nation's progress. To meet this need, the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD) 2016 estimated global, regional, national, and, for selected locations, subnational cause-specific mortality beginning in the year 1980. Here we report an update to that study, making use of newly available data and improved methods. GBD 2017 provides a comprehensive assessment of cause-specific mortality for 282 causes in 195 countries and territories from 1980 to 2017.

Methods

The causes of death database is composed of vital registration (VR), verbal autopsy (VA), registry, survey, police, and surveillance data. GBD 2017 added ten VA studies, 127 country-years of VR data, 502 cancer-registry country-years, and an additional surveillance country-year. Expansions of the GBD cause of death hierarchy resulted in 18 additional causes estimated for GBD 2017. Newly available data led to subnational estimates for five additional countries—Ethiopia, Iran, New Zealand, Norway, and Russia. Deaths assigned International Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes for non-specific, implausible, or intermediate causes of death were reassigned to underlying causes by redistribution algorithms that were incorporated into uncertainty estimation. We used statistical modelling tools developed for GBD, including the Cause of Death Ensemble model (CODEm), to generate cause fractions and cause-specific death rates for each location, year, age, and sex. Instead of using UN estimates as in previous versions, GBD 2017 independently estimated population size and fertility rate for all locations. Years of life lost (YLLs) were then calculated as the sum of each death multiplied by the standard life expectancy at each age. All rates reported here are age-standardised.

Findings

At the broadest grouping of causes of death (Level 1), non-communicable diseases (NCDs) comprised the greatest fraction of deaths, contributing to 73·4% (95% uncertainty interval [UI] 72·5–74·1) of total deaths in 2017, while communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional (CMNN) causes accounted for 18·6% (17·9–19·6), and injuries 8·0% (7·7–8·2). Total numbers of deaths from NCD causes increased from 2007 to 2017 by 22·7% (21·5–23·9), representing an additional 7·61 million (7·20–8·01) deaths estimated in 2017 versus 2007. The death rate from NCDs decreased globally by 7·9% (7·0–8·8). The number of deaths for CMNN causes decreased by 22·2% (20·0–24·0) and the death rate by 31·8% (30·1–33·3). Total deaths from injuries increased by 2·3% (0·5–4·0) between 2007 and 2017, and the death rate from injuries decreased by 13·7% (12·2–15·1) to 57·9 deaths (55·9–59·2) per 100 000 in 2017. Deaths from substance use disorders also increased, rising from 284 000 deaths (268 000–289 000) globally in 2007 to 352 000 (334 000–363 000) in 2017. Between 2007 and 2017, total deaths from conflict and terrorism increased by 118·0% (88·8–148·6). A greater reduction in total deaths and death rates was observed for some CMNN causes among children younger than 5 years than for older adults, such as a 36·4% (32·2–40·6) reduction in deaths from lower respiratory infections for children younger than 5 years compared with a 33·6% (31·2–36·1) increase in adults older than 70 years. Globally, the number of deaths was greater for men than for women at most ages in 2017, except at ages older than 85 years. Trends in global YLLs reflect an epidemiological transition, with decreases in total YLLs from enteric infections, respiratory infections and tuberculosis, and maternal and neonatal disorders between 1990 and 2017; these were generally greater in magnitude at the lowest levels of the Socio-demographic Index (SDI). At the same time, there were large increases in YLLs from neoplasms and cardiovascular diseases. YLL rates decreased across the five leading Level 2 causes in all SDI quintiles. The leading causes of YLLs in 1990—neonatal disorders, lower respiratory infections, and diarrhoeal diseases—were ranked second, fourth, and fifth, in 2017. Meanwhile, estimated YLLs increased for ischaemic heart disease (ranked first in 2017) and stroke (ranked third), even though YLL rates decreased. Population growth contributed to increased total deaths across the 20 leading Level 2 causes of mortality between 2007 and 2017. Decreases in the cause-specific mortality rate reduced the effect of population growth for all but three causes: substance use disorders, neurological disorders, and skin and subcutaneous diseases.

Interpretation

Improvements in global health have been unevenly distributed among populations. Deaths due to injuries, substance use disorders, armed conflict and terrorism, neoplasms, and cardiovascular disease are expanding threats to global health. For causes of death such as lower respiratory and enteric infections, more rapid progress occurred for children than for the oldest adults, and there is continuing disparity in mortality rates by sex across age groups. Reductions in the death rate of some common diseases are themselves slowing or have ceased, primarily for NCDs, and the death rate for selected causes has increased in the past decade.

Added: Nov 16, 2018
Article
Vlassov V. The Lancet. 2015. Vol. 386. No. 10010. P. 2287-2323.

Background The Global Burden of Disease, Injuries, and Risk Factor study 2013 (GBD 2013) is the first of a series of annual updates of the GBD. Risk factor quantification, particularly of modifiable risk factors, can help to identify emerging threats to population health and opportunities for prevention. The GBD 2013 provides a timely opportunity to update the comparative risk assessment with new data for exposure, relative risks, and evidence on the appropriate counterfactual risk distribution. Methods Attributable deaths, years of life lost, years lived with disability, and disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) have been estimated for 79 risks or clusters of risks using the GBD 2010 methods. Risk–outcome pairs meeting explicit evidence criteria were assessed for 188 countries for the period 1990–2013 by age and sex using three inputs: risk exposure, relative risks, and the theoretical minimum risk exposure level (TMREL). Risks are organised into a hierarchy with blocks of behavioural, environmental and occupational, and metabolic risks at the first level of the hierarchy. The next level in the hierarchy includes nine clusters of related risks and two individual risks, with more detail provided at levels 3 and 4 of the hierarchy. Compared with GBD 2010, six new risk factors have been added: handwashing practices, occupational exposure to trichloroethylene, childhood wasting, childhood stunting, unsafe sex, and low glomerular filtration rate. For most risks, data for exposure were synthesised with a Bayesian meta-regression method, DisMod-MR 2.0, or spatial-temporal Gaussian process regression. Relative risks were based on meta-regressions of published cohort and intervention studies. Attributable burden for clusters of risks and all risks combined took into account evidence on the mediation of some risks such as high body-mass index (BMI) through other risks such as high systolic blood pressure and high cholesterol. Findings All risks combined account for 57·2% (95% uncertainty interval [UI] 55·8–58·5) of deaths and 41·6% (40·1–43·0) of DALYs. Risks quantified account for 87·9% (86·5–89·3) of cardiovascular disease DALYs, ranging to a low of 0% for neonatal disorders and neglected tropical diseases and malaria. In terms of global DALYs in 2013, six risks or clusters of risks each caused more than 5% of DALYs: dietary risks accounting for 11·3 million deaths and 241·4 million DALYs, high systolic blood pressure for 10·4 million deaths and 208·1 million DALYs, child and maternal malnutrition for 1·7 million deaths and 176·9 million DALYs, tobacco smoke for 6·1 million deaths and 143·5 million DALYs, air pollution for 5·5 million deaths and 141·5 million DALYs, and high BMI for 4·4 million deaths and 134·0 million DALYs. Risk factor patterns vary across regions and countries and with time. In sub-Saharan Africa, the leading risk factors are child and maternal malnutrition, unsafe sex, and unsafe water, sanitation, and handwashing. In women, in nearly all countries in the Americas, north Africa, and the Middle East, and in many other high-income countries, high BMI is the leading risk factor, with high systolic blood pressure as the leading risk in most of Central and Eastern Europe and south and east Asia. For men, high systolic blood pressure or tobacco use are the leading risks in nearly all high-income countries, in north Africa and the Middle East, Europe, and Asia. For men and women, unsafe sex is the leading risk in a corridor from Kenya to South Africa. Interpretation Behavioural, environmental and occupational, and metabolic risks can explain half of global mortality and more than one-third of global DALYs providing many opportunities for prevention. Of the larger risks, the attributable burden of high BMI has increased in the past 23 years. In view of the prominence of behavioural risk factors, behavioural and social science research on interventions for these risks should be strengthened. Many prevention and primary care policy options are available now to act on key risks.

Added: Sep 12, 2015
Article
Vlassov V. The Lancet. 2015. Vol. 386. No. 10010. P. 2287-2323.

Background The Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2015 (GBD 2015) provides an up to date synthesis of the evidence on risk factor exposure and the burden of disease attributable to these risks. By providing national and subnational assessments spanning 25 years, the GBD 2015 can help inform debates on the importance of addressing different risks in different contexts. Methods We used the comparative risk assessment (CRA) framework developed for previous iterations of the GBD study to estimate attributable deaths, DALYs, and trends in exposure by age group, sex, year, and geography for 79 behavioural, environmental and occupational, and metabolic risks or clusters of risks over the period 1990 to 2015. The GBD 2015 study included 388 risk-outcome pairs which met World Cancer Research Fund-defined criteria for convincing or probable evidence. Relative risk estimates were extracted from published and unpublished randomised controlled trials, cohorts, and pooled cohorts. Risk exposures were estimated based on published studies, household surveys, census data, satellite data, and other sources. Statistical models were used to pool data from different sources, adjust for bias in the data, and incorporate explanatory covariates. We developed a metric that allows comparisons of exposure across risk factors – the summary exposure value (SEV) – which is scaled so that 100% is the entire population at maximum risk, and 0% is everyone at lowest risk. Using the counterfactual scenario of theoretical minimum risk level (TMREL) – the level for a given risk that could minimise population level risk if achieved – we estimated the portion of the burden (deaths and DALYs) that could be attributed to a given risk. We decomposed trends in attributable burden into contributions from population growth, population age structure, risk exposure, and risk-deleted cause-specific DALY rates. We characterized how risk exposures change as countries  move through the development continuum. GBD 2015 follows the Guidelines for Accurate and Transparent Health Estimates Reporting (GATHER), and provides comprehensive and detailed information for the data sources, estimation methods, computational tools, and statistical analysis used to generate estimates of attributable burden. Findings Between 1990 and 2015, global exposure to unsafe sanitation, household air pollution, childhood underweight, childhood stunting and smoking fell more than 25%. Global exposure for several occupational risks, high body mass index, drug use and ambient air pollution increased more than 25% over the same period. All risks jointly evaluated in 2015 accounted for 58.0% (56.9-59.0%) of global deaths and 41.3% (39.9-42.9%) of DALYs; the largest fraction of  global DALYs was attributable to behavioural (30.3% [28.6-32.0%]). In 2015, the 10 largest Level 3 risks in terms of attributable DALYs at the global level were, in order: high systolic blood pressure (9.3% [8.3-10.3%] of global DALYs), smoking (6.0% [5.3-6.8%]), high fasting plasma glucose (5.8% [5.3-6.4%]), high body-mass index (4.9% [3.5-6.4%]), childhood undernutrition 4.6% [4.1-5.1%]), ambient particular matter (4.2% [3.6-4.8%]), high total cholesterol (3.6% [3- 4.3%]), household air pollution (3.5% [2.6-4.4%]), alcohol use (3.5% [3.1-3.8%]) and diets high in sodium (3.4% [2.0-5.3%]).Decomposition analysis showed that from 1990 to 2015 the number of attributable DALYs declined for micronutrient deficiencies, childhood undernutrition, unsafe sanitation and unsafe water, and household air pollution but most of these declines were driven by reductions in risk-deleted DALY rates and not reductions in exposure. For a wide range of risks, increases in attributable burden were driven by population growth and aging exceeding reductions from risk-deleted DALY rates with exposure change having only a minimal contribution. Rising exposure has contributed to notable increases in attributable DALYs from high body-mass index, high fasting plasma glucose, occupational carcinogens, and drug use. Our assessments of the relationships between increasing development, measured using the Sociodemographic Index, showed that some environmental risks and childhood undernutrition decline steadily with development while a number of risks like low physical activity, high body-mass index, high fasting plasma glucose, smoking and others increase with development until the highest quintile. At the country level, metabolic risks such as high BMI and high fasting plasma glucose increasingly emerged as the leading risk factors for attributable DALYs in 2015. Nonetheless, regional risk profiles showed sizeable heterogeneity, with smoking still ranked among the leading five risk factors for attributable DALYs in 140 countries, and childhood underweight and unsafe sex enduring as primary drivers of early death and disability in much of sub-Saharan Africa. Interpretation Declines in some key environmental risks such as water, sanitation, and household air pollution have contributed to declines in critical infectious diseases such as diarrhoeal diseases. Many risks do not appear to change as countries move through the development continuum and have not played a major role in trends of the last 25 years. Several key risks, including high BMI, high fasting plasma glucose, drug use, and some occupational exposures, are increasing and contributing to rising burden from some conditions; nevertheless these risks provide opportunities for intervention. Some highly preventable risks such as smoking remain major causes of attributable DALYs even as exposure is declining. Public policy needs to pay careful attention to the risks that are both major contributors to global burden and are increasing

Added: Aug 20, 2016
Article
Vlassov V. The Lancet. 2017. Vol. 390. No. 10100. P. 1345-1422.

Background

The Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2016 (GBD 2016) provides a comprehensive assessment of risk factor exposure and attributable burden of disease. By providing estimates over a long time series, this study can monitor risk exposure trends critical to health surveillance and inform policy debates on the importance of addressing risks in context.

Methods

We used the comparative risk assessment framework developed for previous iterations of GBD to estimate levels and trends in exposure, attributable deaths, and attributable disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs), by age group, sex, year, and location for 84 behavioural, environmental and occupational, and metabolic risks or clusters of risks from 1990 to 2016. This study included 481 risk-outcome pairs that met the GBD study criteria for convincing or probable evidence of causation. We extracted relative risk (RR) and exposure estimates from 22 717 randomised controlled trials, cohorts, pooled cohorts, household surveys, census data, satellite data, and other sources, according to the GBD 2016 source counting methods. Using the counterfactual scenario of theoretical minimum risk exposure level (TMREL), we estimated the portion of deaths and DALYs that could be attributed to a given risk. Finally, we explored four drivers of trends in attributable burden: population growth, population ageing, trends in risk exposure, and all other factors combined.

Findings

Since 1990, exposure increased significantly for 30 risks, did not change significantly for four risks, and decreased significantly for 31 risks. Among risks that are leading causes of burden of disease, child growth failure and household air pollution showed the most significant declines, while metabolic risks, such as body-mass index and high fasting plasma glucose, showed significant increases. In 2016, at Level 3 of the hierarchy, the three leading risk factors in terms of attributable DALYs at the global level for men were smoking (124·1 million DALYs [95% UI 111·2 million to 137·0 million]), high systolic blood pressure (122·2 million DALYs [110·3 million to 133·3 million], and low birthweight and short gestation (83·0 million DALYs [78·3 million to 87·7 million]), and for women, were high systolic blood pressure (89·9 million DALYs [80·9 million to 98·2 million]), high body-mass index (64·8 million DALYs [44·4 million to 87·6 million]), and high fasting plasma glucose (63·8 million DALYs [53·2 million to 76·3 million]). In 2016 in 113 countries, the leading risk factor in terms of attributable DALYs was a metabolic risk factor. Smoking remained among the leading five risk factors for DALYs for 109 countries, while low birthweight and short gestation was the leading risk factor for DALYs in 38 countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. In terms of important drivers of change in trends of burden attributable to risk factors, between 2006 and 2016 exposure to risks explains an 9·3% (6·9–11·6) decline in deaths and a 10·8% (8·3–13·1) decrease in DALYs at the global level, while population ageing accounts for 14·9% (12·7–17·5) of deaths and 6·2% (3·9–8·7) of DALYs, and population growth for 12·4% (10·1–14·9) of deaths and 12·4% (10·1–14·9) of DALYs. The largest contribution of trends in risk exposure to disease burden is seen between ages 1 year and 4 years, where a decline of 27·3% (24·9–29·7) of the change in DALYs between 2006 and 2016 can be attributed to declines in exposure to risks.

Interpretation

Increasingly detailed understanding of the trends in risk exposure and the RRs for each risk-outcome pair provide insights into both the magnitude of health loss attributable to risks and how modification of risk exposure has contributed to health trends. Metabolic risks warrant particular policy attention, due to their large contribution to global disease burden, increasing trends, and variable patterns across countries at the same level of development. GBD 2016 findings show that, while it has huge potential to improve health, risk modification has played a relatively small part in the past decade.

 

Added: Sep 15, 2017
Article
Vlassov V. The Lancet. 2018. Vol. 392. No. 10159. P. 1923-1994.

Background

The Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD) 2017 comparative risk assessment (CRA) is a comprehensive approach to risk factor quantification that offers a useful tool for synthesising evidence on risks and risk–outcome associations. With each annual GBD study, we update the GBD CRA to incorporate improved methods, new risks and risk–outcome pairs, and new data on risk exposure levels and risk–outcome associations.

Methods

We used the CRA framework developed for previous iterations of GBD to estimate levels and trends in exposure, attributable deaths, and attributable disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs), by age group, sex, year, and location for 84 behavioural, environmental and occupational, and metabolic risks or groups of risks from 1990 to 2017. This study included 476 risk–outcome pairs that met the GBD study criteria for convincing or probable evidence of causation. We extracted relative risk and exposure estimates from 46 749 randomised controlled trials, cohort studies, household surveys, census data, satellite data, and other sources. We used statistical models to pool data, adjust for bias, and incorporate covariates. Using the counterfactual scenario of theoretical minimum risk exposure level (TMREL), we estimated the portion of deaths and DALYs that could be attributed to a given risk. We explored the relationship between development and risk exposure by modelling the relationship between the Socio-demographic Index (SDI) and risk-weighted exposure prevalence and estimated expected levels of exposure and risk-attributable burden by SDI. Finally, we explored temporal changes in risk-attributable DALYs by decomposing those changes into six main component drivers of change as follows: (1) population growth; (2) changes in population age structures; (3) changes in exposure to environmental and occupational risks; (4) changes in exposure to behavioural risks; (5) changes in exposure to metabolic risks; and (6) changes due to all other factors, approximated as the risk-deleted death and DALY rates, where the risk-deleted rate is the rate that would be observed had we reduced the exposure levels to the TMREL for all risk factors included in GBD 2017.

Findings

In 2017, 34·1 million (95% uncertainty interval [UI] 33·3–35·0) deaths and 1·21 billion (1·14–1·28) DALYs were attributable to GBD risk factors. Globally, 61·0% (59·6–62·4) of deaths and 48·3% (46·3–50·2) of DALYs were attributed to the GBD 2017 risk factors. When ranked by risk-attributable DALYs, high systolic blood pressure (SBP) was the leading risk factor, accounting for 10·4 million (9·39–11·5) deaths and 218 million (198–237) DALYs, followed by smoking (7·10 million [6·83–7·37] deaths and 182 million [173–193] DALYs), high fasting plasma glucose (6·53 million [5·23–8·23] deaths and 171 million [144–201] DALYs), high body-mass index (BMI; 4·72 million [2·99–6·70] deaths and 148 million [98·6–202] DALYs), and short gestation for birthweight (1·43 million [1·36–1·51] deaths and 139 million [131–147] DALYs). In total, risk-attributable DALYs declined by 4·9% (3·3–6·5) between 2007 and 2017. In the absence of demographic changes (ie, population growth and ageing), changes in risk exposure and risk-deleted DALYs would have led to a 23·5% decline in DALYs during that period. Conversely, in the absence of changes in risk exposure and risk-deleted DALYs, demographic changes would have led to an 18·6% increase in DALYs during that period. The ratios of observed risk exposure levels to exposure levels expected based on SDI (O/E ratios) increased globally for unsafe drinking water and household air pollution between 1990 and 2017. This result suggests that development is occurring more rapidly than are changes in the underlying risk structure in a population. Conversely, nearly universal declines in O/E ratios for smoking and alcohol use indicate that, for a given SDI, exposure to these risks is declining. In 2017, the leading Level 4 risk factor for age-standardised DALY rates was high SBP in four super-regions: central Europe, eastern Europe, and central Asia; north Africa and Middle East; south Asia; and southeast Asia, east Asia, and Oceania. The leading risk factor in the high-income super-region was smoking, in Latin America and Caribbean was high BMI, and in sub-Saharan Africa was unsafe sex. O/E ratios for unsafe sex in sub-Saharan Africa were notably high, and those for alcohol use in north Africa and the Middle East were notably low.

Interpretation

By quantifying levels and trends in exposures to risk factors and the resulting disease burden, this assessment offers insight into where past policy and programme efforts might have been successful and highlights current priorities for public health action. Decreases in behavioural, environmental, and occupational risks have largely offset the effects of population growth and ageing, in relation to trends in absolute burden. Conversely, the combination of increasing metabolic risks and population ageing will probably continue to drive the increasing trends in non-communicable diseases at the global level, which presents both a public health challenge and opportunity. We see considerable spatiotemporal heterogeneity in levels of risk exposure and risk-attributable burden. Although levels of development underlie some of this heterogeneity, O/E ratios show risks for which countries are overperforming or underperforming relative to their level of development. As such, these ratios provide a benchmarking tool to help to focus local decision making. Our findings reinforce the importance of both risk exposure monitoring and epidemiological research to assess causal connections between risks and health outcomes, and they highlight the usefulness of the GBD study in synthesising data to draw comprehensive and robust conclusions that help to inform good policy and strategic health planning.

Added: Nov 16, 2018
Article
Vlassov V. The Lancet. 2015. Vol. 386. No. 10009. P. 2145-2191.

Background   The global burden of diseases, injuries and risk factors 2013 study (GBD 2013) seeks to synthesize all available epidemiological data using a coherent measurement framework, standardized estimation methods, and transparent data sources to facilitate comparisons of health loss across causes, age‐sex groups, and geographies and over time. The GBD can be used to generate summary measures such as disability adjusted life years (DALYs) and healthy life expectancy (HALE) that facilitate comparative assessments of broad epidemiological patterns across countries and time. These summary measures can also be used to quantify the component of variation in epidemiology that is related to socio‐ demographic development.   Methods   We used the published GBD 2013 age‐specific mortality, years of life lost (YLLs) and years lived with disability (YLDs) to compute DALYs and HALE for 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010, and 2013 for 188 countries. HALE was computed using the Sullivan method; 95% uncertainty intervals reflect uncertainty in age‐specific death rates and YLDs per capita for each country, age, sex, and year. DALYs for 306 causes for each country were computed as the sum of YLLs and YLDs; 95% uncertainty intervals reflect uncertainty in YLL and YLD rates. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) using hierarchical regression was applied to DALY rates by cause to decompose variance related to socio‐demographic status, GBD region, country variation within regions, and unexplained.       Findings Life expectancy at birth for the world for both sexes combined increased from 65.3 (65.0‐65.6) in 1990 to 71.5 (71.0‐71.9) in 2013, whereas over the same interval HALE at birth for both sexes combined increased from 56.9 (54.5‐59.1) to 62.3 (59.7‐64.8). Global DALYs numbers, rates and age‐standardized rates for communicable, maternal, neonatal and nutritional causes have been declining from 1990 to 2013. Non‐communicable disease DALY numbers are increasing, DALY rates are nearly constant and age‐ standardized DALYs are declining. From 2005 to 2013, the number of DALYs increased for a large number of specific non‐communicable diseases and for dengue, food borne trematodes and leishmaniasis (although in absolute terms these latter increases were small) and DALYs decreased for nearly all other causes. By 2013, the five leading causes of DALYs were ischemic heart disease, lower respiratory infections, cerebrovascular disease, low back & neck pain, and road injuries. SDS explains more than 50% of the variance for diarrhea, LRI and other common infectious diseases; maternal disorders; neonatal disorders; nutritional deficiencies, and musculoskeletal disorders. SDS explains very little of the variance in DALY rates for HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis; neglected tropical diseases; neoplasms; cardiovascular diseases; chronic respiratory diseases; diabetes, urogenital, blood, and endocrine diseases; and cirrhosis along with self‐harm, interpersonal violence, forces of nature, war and January 25, 2015: Confidential Draft-Do Not Cite or Distribute 2   legal intervention. A predictable shift in burden from YLLs to YLDs is associated with higher SDS driven by declines in YLLs and increases in YLDs from musculoskeletal disorders, neurological disorders and mental and substance abuse disorders. Country specific estimates of life expectancy and HALE show smaller increases in HALE than life expectancy in most countries. Leading causes of DALYs are highly variable across countries. Interpretation Global health is improving.  Population growth and aging drive up numbers of DALYs and crude rates remain relatively constant highlighting that progress in health does not mean less demands on health systems. The epidemiological transition interpreted as the structured change in burden with rising SDS is a useful construct but there is tremendous variation in burden of disease that is not associated with SDS highlighting the need for country‐specific assessments of DALYs and HALE to inform health policy debates.

Added: Aug 21, 2015
Article
Vlassov V. The Lancet. 2016. Vol. 388. No. 10053. P. 1603-1658.

Background

Healthy life expectancy (HALE) and disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) provide summary measures of health across geographies and time that can inform assessments of epidemiological patterns and health system performance, help to prioritise investments in research and development, and monitor progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We aimed to provide updated HALE and DALYs for geographies worldwide and evaluate how disease burden changes with development.

Methods

We used results from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2015 (GBD 2015) for all-cause mortality, cause-specific mortality, and non-fatal disease burden to derive HALE and DALYs by sex for 195 countries and territories from 1990 to 2015. We calculated DALYs by summing years of life lost (YLLs) and years of life lived with disability (YLDs) for each geography, age group, sex, and year. We estimated HALE using the Sullivan method, which draws from age-specific death rates and YLDs per capita. We then assessed how observed levels of DALYs and HALE differed from expected trends calculated with the Socio-demographic Index (SDI), a composite indicator constructed from measures of income per capita, average years of schooling, and total fertility rate.

Findings

Total global DALYs remained largely unchanged from 1990 to 2015, with decreases in communicable, neonatal, maternal, and nutritional (Group 1) disease DALYs offset by increased DALYs due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Much of this epidemiological transition was caused by changes in population growth and ageing, but it was accelerated by widespread improvements in SDI that also correlated strongly with the increasing importance of NCDs. Both total DALYs and age-standardised DALY rates due to most Group 1 causes significantly decreased by 2015, and although total burden climbed for the majority of NCDs, age-standardised DALY rates due to NCDs declined. Nonetheless, age-standardised DALY rates due to several high-burden NCDs (including osteoarthritis, drug use disorders, depression, diabetes, congenital birth defects, and skin, oral, and sense organ diseases) either increased or remained unchanged, leading to increases in their relative ranking in many geographies. From 2005 to 2015, HALE at birth increased by an average of 2·9 years (95% uncertainty interval 2·9–3·0) for men and 3·5 years (3·4–3·7) for women, while HALE at age 65 years improved by 0·85 years (0·78–0·92) and 1·2 years (1·1–1·3), respectively. Rising SDI was associated with consistently higher HALE and a somewhat smaller proportion of life spent with functional health loss; however, rising SDI was related to increases in total disability. Many countries and territories in central America and eastern sub-Saharan Africa had increasingly lower rates of disease burden than expected given their SDI. At the same time, a subset of geographies recorded a growing gap between observed and expected levels of DALYs, a trend driven mainly by rising burden due to war, interpersonal violence, and various NCDs.

Interpretation

Health is improving globally, but this means more populations are spending more time with functional health loss, an absolute expansion of morbidity. The proportion of life spent in ill health decreases somewhat with increasing SDI, a relative compression of morbidity, which supports continued efforts to elevate personal income, improve education, and limit fertility. Our analysis of DALYs and HALE and their relationship to SDI represents a robust framework on which to benchmark geography-specific health performance and SDG progress. Country-specific drivers of disease burden, particularly for causes with higher-than-expected DALYs, should inform financial and research investments, prevention efforts, health policies, and health system improvement initiatives for all countries along the development continuum.

Added: Oct 13, 2016
Article
Vlassov V. The Lancet. 2018. Vol. 392. No. 10159. P. 1859-1922.

Background

How long one lives, how many years of life are spent in good and poor health, and how the population's state of health and leading causes of disability change over time all have implications for policy, planning, and provision of services. We comparatively assessed the patterns and trends of healthy life expectancy (HALE), which quantifies the number of years of life expected to be lived in good health, and the complementary measure of disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs), a composite measure of disease burden capturing both premature mortality and prevalence and severity of ill health, for 359 diseases and injuries for 195 countries and territories over the past 28 years.

Methods

We used data for age-specific mortality rates, years of life lost (YLLs) due to premature mortality, and years lived with disability (YLDs) from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD) 2017 to calculate HALE and DALYs from 1990 to 2017. We calculated HALE using age-specific mortality rates and YLDs per capita for each location, age, sex, and year. We calculated DALYs for 359 causes as the sum of YLLs and YLDs. We assessed how observed HALE and DALYs differed by country and sex from expected trends based on Socio-demographic Index (SDI). We also analysed HALE by decomposing years of life gained into years spent in good health and in poor health, between 1990 and 2017, and extra years lived by females compared with males.

Findings

Globally, from 1990 to 2017, life expectancy at birth increased by 7·4 years (95% uncertainty interval 7·1–7·8), from 65·6 years (65·3–65·8) in 1990 to 73·0 years (72·7–73·3) in 2017. The increase in years of life varied from 5·1 years (5·0–5·3) in high SDI countries to 12·0 years (11·3–12·8) in low SDI countries. Of the additional years of life expected at birth, 26·3% (20·1–33·1) were expected to be spent in poor health in high SDI countries compared with 11·7% (8·8–15·1) in low-middle SDI countries. HALE at birth increased by 6·3 years (5·9–6·7), from 57·0 years (54·6–59·1) in 1990 to 63·3 years (60·5–65·7) in 2017. The increase varied from 3·8 years (3·4–4·1) in high SDI countries to 10·5 years (9·8–11·2) in low SDI countries. Even larger variations in HALE than these were observed between countries, ranging from 1·0 year (0·4–1·7) in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (62·4 years [59·9–64·7] in 1990 to 63·5 years [60·9–65·8] in 2017) to 23·7 years (21·9–25·6) in Eritrea (30·7 years [28·9–32·2] in 1990 to 54·4 years [51·5–57·1] in 2017). In most countries, the increase in HALE was smaller than the increase in overall life expectancy, indicating more years lived in poor health. In 180 of 195 countries and territories, females were expected to live longer than males in 2017, with extra years lived varying from 1·4 years (0·6–2·3) in Algeria to 11·9 years (10·9–12·9) in Ukraine. Of the extra years gained, the proportion spent in poor health varied largely across countries, with less than 20% of additional years spent in poor health in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, and Slovakia, whereas in Bahrain all the extra years were spent in poor health. In 2017, the highest estimate of HALE at birth was in Singapore for both females (75·8 years [72·4–78·7]) and males (72·6 years [69·8–75·0]) and the lowest estimates were in Central African Republic (47·0 years [43·7–50·2] for females and 42·8 years [40·1–45·6] for males). Globally, in 2017, the five leading causes of DALYs were neonatal disorders, ischaemic heart disease, stroke, lower respiratory infections, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Between 1990 and 2017, age-standardised DALY rates decreased by 41·3% (38·8–43·5) for communicable diseases and by 49·8% (47·9–51·6) for neonatal disorders. For non-communicable diseases, global DALYs increased by 40·1% (36·8–43·0), although age-standardised DALY rates decreased by 18·1% (16·0–20·2).

Interpretation

With increasing life expectancy in most countries, the question of whether the additional years of life gained are spent in good health or poor health has been increasingly relevant because of the potential policy implications, such as health-care provisions and extending retirement ages. In some locations, a large proportion of those additional years are spent in poor health. Large inequalities in HALE and disease burden exist across countries in different SDI quintiles and between sexes. The burden of disabling conditions has serious implications for health system planning and health-related expenditures. Despite the progress made in reducing the burden of communicable diseases and neonatal disorders in low SDI countries, the speed of this progress could be increased by scaling up proven interventions. The global trends among non-communicable diseases indicate that more effort is needed to maximise HALE, such as risk prevention and attention to upstream determinants of health.

Added: Nov 16, 2018
Article
Vlassov V. The Lancet. 2014. Vol. 348. No. 9947. P. 1005-1070.

Abstract: Background The Millennium Declaration in 2000 brought special global attention to HIV, tuberculosis and malaria through the formulation of Millennium Development Goal 6 (MDG 6). The Global Burden of Disease 2013 study provides a consistent and comprehensive approach to disease estimation 1990 to 2013, and an opportunity to assess if there has been accelerated progress since the Millennium Declaration. Methods To estimate incidence and mortality for HIV, we used the UNAIDS Spectrum model appropriately modified based on a systematic review of the literature on mortality with and without out antiretroviral therapy (ART). For concentrated epidemics, we calibrated Spectrum models to fit vital registration data corrected for misclassification of HIV deaths. In generalized epidemics, we minimized a loss function to select epidemic curves most consistent with prevalence data and demographic data on all-cause mortality. We analyzed counterfactual scenarios for HIV to assess years of life saved through prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) and anti-retroviral therapy (ART). For tuberculosis, we analyzed vital registration and verbal autopsy data to estimate mortality using cause of death ensemble modeling. We analyzed data on corrected case-notifications, expert opinions on the case-detection rate, prevalence surveys and estimated cause-specific mortality using Bayesian metaregression to generate consistent trends in all parameters. Malaria mortality and incidence were analyzed using an updated cause of death database, a systematic analysis of verbal autopsy validation studies for malaria and recent literature on incidence, drug resistance and coverage of insecticide treated bed nets. Findings Globally in 2013, there were 1.8 million new HIV infections (95% uncertainty interval 1.7 million to 2.1 million), 29.0 million prevalent HIV cases (27.9 to 31.4) and 1.3 million HIV deaths (1.2 to 1.5). At the peak of the epidemic in 2005, HIV caused 1.7 million deaths (1.6 to 1.9). Concentrated epidemics in Latin America and Eastern Europe are substantially smaller than previously estimated. Through interventions including PMTCT and ART, 19.3 million life years have been saved, 68.9% in the developing world. From 2000 to 2011, the ratio of development assistance for health for HIV to years of life saved through intervention was $4,647-$7,137 in the developing world. All-forms tuberculosis (including Individuals who are HIV-positive) incidence, prevalence and death numbers in 2013 were 6.6 million (6.4 to 6.7), 10.1 million (9.8 to 10.4) and 1.4 million (1.3 to 1.5), the same figures in Individuals who are HIV-negative were 6.1 million (6.0 to 6.3), 9.5 million (9.2 to 9.8) and 1.3 million

Added: May 30, 2014