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The global burden of disease (GBD) or Global Burden of Disease Study is a comprehensive regional and global assessment of mortality and disability from major diseases, injuries, and risk factors.


The results from GBD 2010 show that

"infectious diseases, maternal and child illness, and malnutrition now cause fewer deaths and less illness than they did twenty years ago. As a result, fewer children are dying every year, but more young and middle-aged adults are dying and suffering from disease and injury, as non-communicable diseases, such as cancer and heart disease, become the dominant causes of death and disability worldwide. Since 1970, men and women worldwide have gained slightly more than ten years of life expectancy overall, but they spend more years living with injury and illness."[1]


The GBD project was commissioned in 1990 and is a collaborative effort between hundreds of experts worldwide, including researchers at the World Health Organization (WHO), Harvard School of Public Health, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), and the World Bank. The original project estimated health gaps using disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) for eight regions of the world in 1990. It provided a standardised approach to epidemiological assessment and uses a standard unit, the disability-adjusted life year (DALY), to aid comparisons.

Official DALY estimates had not been updated by WHO since 2004,[2] until the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 was published in 2013.[3] The work quantifed the burdens of 291 major causes of death and disability and 67 risk factors disaggregated by 21 geographic regions and various age-sex groups.[4][5]


The GBD has three specific aims:

  1. To systematically incorporate information on non-fatal outcomes into the assessment of health status (using a time-based measure of healthy years of life lost due either to premature mortality or to years lived with a disability, weighted by the severity of that disability)
  2. To ensure that all estimates and projections were derived on the basis of objective epidemiological and demographic methods, which were not influenced by advocates.
  3. To measure the burden of disease using a metric that could also be used to assess the cost-effectiveness of interventions. The metric chosen was the DALY.[citation needed]

The burden of disease can be viewed as the gap between current health status and an ideal situation in which everyone lives into old age free of disease and disability. Causes of the gap are premature mortality, disability and exposure to certain risk factors that contribute to illness.

See also


  1. Global Burden of Disease Study 2010: Executive summary. URL accessed on 21 December 2012.
  2. Global Burden of Disease (GBD) at WHO, 2012
  3. Murray CJ, Vos T, Lozano R, Naghavi M, Flaxman AD, Michaud C et al. (2013). Disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) for 291 diseases and injuries in 21 regions, 1990-2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. Lancet 380 (9859): 2197–223.
  4. Murray CJ, Ezzati M, Flaxman AD, Lim S, Lozano R, Michaud C et al. (2013). GBD 2010: design, definitions, and metrics. Lancet 380 (9859): 2063–6.
  5. Watts C, Cairncross S (2013). Should the GBD risk factor rankings be used to guide policy?. Lancet 380 (9859): 2060–1.

External links

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