We report the burden of disease and risk factors measured by causes of death, years of life lost attributable to premature mortality (YLLs), years of life lived with disability (YLDs), and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) for 1990, 2005, and 2010 in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).


We used the Global Burden of Disease 2010 (GBD 2010) methodology to estimate the country-level burden of disease in KSA. We used data from systematic reviews of the literature, household survey data, antenatal clinic surveillance data, reportable disease notifications, disease registries, hospital admissions data, outpatient visit data, population-based cancer registries, active screening data, and other administrative data.


Non-communicable diseases and road traffic injuries became the leading causes of death and disability in KSA in 2010. Elevated body mass index was the leading risk factor for disease (7.02% for males and 4.61% for females in 2010). High glucose levels were the second-leading disease risk factor for females (3.28%) and third for males (6.25%) in 2010. Preterm birth complications were the main cause for DALYs in 1990; however, in 2010, the leading cause of DALYs for males was road traffic injuries (12.40%), and for females it was major depressive disorder (7.88%).


KSA is facing a rising burden of non-communicable diseases and road traffic injuries as a result of rapid changes in behaviors. Our results demonstrate the need for major intervention to reduce these burdens and to engage other sectors of the government and the community in these efforts.


Memish ZA, Jaber S, Mokdad AH, AlMazroa MA, Murray CJL, Al Rabeeah AA, et al. Burden of disease, injuries, and risk factors in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 1990–2010. Preventing Chronic Disease. 2014; 11:140176. doi: 10.5888/pcd11.140176.