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Publication date: 
October 2, 2018


In order to address the health challenges facing the population, we must have an overview of the population’s health status. In Norway, we have traditionally had a good overview of causes of death, but less is known about the disease burden from conditions that result in morbidity, so-called non-fatal health loss. Our aim was to describe the total disease burden in Norway in 2016, its development over the last 10 years, and sex differences in the disease burden.

Material and Method

We used results from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries and Risk Factors Study (GBD), which quantifies non-fatal health loss such that it can be measured on the same scale as mortality in the form of years of life lost. The sum of "years of life lost" plus "years lived with disability" gives the disease burden metric, "disability-adjusted life years" (DALYs).


Non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and dementia were leading causes of years of life lost in both sexes in Norway in 2016. Years lived with disability accounted for 52% of the disease burden measured in disability-adjusted life years. Musculoskeletal disorders, mental disorders, and substance use disorders were particularly important. Over the last 10 years, the disease burden (in age-adjusted rates) has decreased for many conditions that result in years of life lost, but not for conditions that lead to years lived with disability.


Non-fatal health loss constitutes a large and increasing proportion of the disease burden in the Norwegian population, which will bring new challenges for the health care system.


Tollånes MC, Knudsen AK, Vollset SE, Kinge JM, Skirbekk V, Øverland S. Disease burden in Norway in 2016. Tidsskriftet. 2 October 2018. doi:10.4045/tidsskr.18.0274.