Health risks and issues

Featured health risks and issues

As part of the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study, we produce estimates for more than 80 risk factors along with in-depth analysis for the world's most pressing health issues.

Health topic

Air pollution

Air pollution adversely affects health in much of the world. Outdoor air pollution has several components, including various gases as well as tiny particles of solids or liquids that are suspended in the air, often called ambient particulate matter. Ambient particulate matter pollution is a major cause of premature death and ill health worldwide.

Health topic

Alcohol use

Alcohol use is a major risk factor for death and disability worldwide. It is ranked among other risks such as high blood pressure, smoking, and dietary risks. In some countries, alcohol use is the number one risk factor for men.

Health topic

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR)

AMR poses a major threat to human health around the world. AMR occurs when microorganisms, such as bacteria, adapt in ways that make currently available treatments for infections less effective. Action is needed to reduce the impact of AMR worldwide.

Health topic

Child health

Despite notable advancements and progress made by many countries in reducing child mortality rates, millions of children continue to lose their lives before turning five.

Health topic


It is well known that what we eat influences our health, but how much disease burden can be attributed to diet, and what components of our diet are most harmful? The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study provides some of the answers to these questions by tracking risk factors as well as diseases and injuries. GBD estimates now include over 80 different risk factors, including dietary risks.

Health topic

Maternal health

Maternal health encompasses the health of women during and just after pregnancy, a time when women are at risk of complications and even death. 

Health topic

Mental health

Mental health conditions are among the top 10 leading causes of health loss worldwide, with anxiety and depression ranked as the most common across all age groups and locations.

Health topic

Smoking and tobacco

Tobacco is a clearly damaging risk factor to health, significantly contributing to the burden of many non-communicable diseases, and even to some communicable diseases. While smoking prevalence has decreased over the past 30 years, the total number of smokers worldwide has continued to increase due to population growth. 

Burden of Proof

Which health studies are supported by strong evidence?

We investigated which popular health recommendations have the biggest impact, so everyone from health-conscious individuals to policymakers can better understand the strength of evidence behind certain risks and outcomes.


Scientific Publication

Health effects associated with chewing tobacco: a Burden of Proof study

Interactive data visuals

Interactive Data Visual

Burden of Proof

Compare strength of evidence for health risks and outcomes.

Interactive Data Visual


The MICROBE (Measuring Infectious Causes and Resistance Outcomes for Burden Estimation) tool visualizes the fatal and nonfatal health outcomes of infections, pathogens, and antimicrobial resistance across different countries and regions.

Interactive Data Visual

Double Burden of Malnutrition

With this dynamic map visualization tool, explore local patterns in child overweight and wasting, from 2000 to 2019. Observe trends at multiple spatial scales and search to view trends in specific countries and local areas.

Interactive Data Visual

Child Growth Failure

Delve into local patterns in child stunting, wasting, and underweight across all low- and middle-income countries from 2000 to 2017.

Data input sources

The Global Health Data Exchange (GHDx) is home to the world's most comprehensive catalog of surveys, censuses, vital statistics, and other health-related data. Use our data input sources tool to explore the sources used in the latest round of the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) estimation.

Open data catalog