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Global Burden of Disease

Global Burden of Disease

The Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD) is a systematic, scientific effort to quantify the magnitude of all major diseases, risk factors and intermediate clinical outcomes in a highly standardized way, to allow for comparisons over time, across populations and between health problems. The first GBD began in 1991 and now provides estimates for each year from 1990 to the present for 371 diseases and injuries, as well as 3,499 clinical outcomes (sequelae) related to those diseases and injuries, for 204 countries and territories and for subnational units in more than 20 countries.

The GBD is now produced by an active collaboration of over 8,000 scientists and analysts from more than 150 countries. With each GBD iteration, the data, data processing and methods used for data synthesis have evolved, with the goal of enhancing transparency and comparability of measurements and communicating various sources of uncertainty. The GBD has many limitations, but it remains a dynamic, iterative and rigorous attempt to provide meaningful health measurement to a wide range of stakeholders

The sum of mortality and morbidity is referred to as the ‘burden of disease’ and can be measured by a metric called ‘Disability Adjusted Life Years‘ (DALYs). DALYs are measuring lost health and are a standardized metric that allow for direct comparisons of disease burdens of different diseases across countries, between different populations, and over time.

Conceptually, one DALY is the equivalent of losing one year in good health because of either premature death or disease or disability. One DALY represents one lost year of healthy life.


View the interactive charts on this website https://ourworldindata.org/burden-of-diseaseLinks to an external site. on trends over time for the following:

  • burden of disease by cause
  • disease burden by risk factor
  • disease burden from NCDs

Explore the options at the bottom of the image (Chart, Map, Table, Sources).

Explore the information through the time bar at the bottom of the image.


You can also use these data visualization tools to further examine the global burden of disease due to non-communicable diseases (NCD), looking at NCD data but also risk factors that account for much of the burden of disease due to NCDs.

https://www.healthdata.org/research-analysis/gbdLinks to an external site.


Reflect on the findings in a two-page essay, using the guidelines in the syllabus for the formatting of papers. Upload the essay here. How has the burden of disease changed since 1990? What were the major trends over time in terms of diseases? Reflect on the major risk factors and discuss how changes in global society have contributed to these risk factors. Finally, what are the patterns of differences that you noticed across countries or regions?

Requirements: 2 page essay

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Global Burden of Disease


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