Population health and burden of disease profile of Iran among 20 countries in the region: from Afghanistan to Qatar and Lebanon

Published May 7, 2014, in Archives of Iranian Medicine (opens in a new window)


Population health and disease profiles are diverse across Iran’s neighboring countries. Borrowing the results of the country-level Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors 2010 Study (GBD 2010), we aim to compare Iran with 19 countries in terms of an important set of population health and disease metrics. These countries include those neighboring Iran and a few other countries from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.


We show the pattern of health transition across the comparator countries from 1990 through 2010. We use classic GBD metrics measured for the year 2010 to indicate the rank of Iran among these nations. The metrics include disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), years of life lost as a result of premature death (YLLs), years of life lost due to disability (YLDs), health-adjusted life expectancy (HALE), and age-standardized death rate (ASD).


Considerable and uniform transition from communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional (CMMN) conditions to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) was seen between 1990 and 2010. On average, ischemic heart disease, lower respiratory infections, and road injuries were the three principal causes of YLLs, while low back pain and major depressive disorders were the top causes of YLDs in these countries. Iran ranked 13th in HALE and 12th in ASD. The function of Iran’s health care, measured by DALYs, was somewhat in the middle of the HALE spectrum for the comparator countries. This intermediate position becomes rather highlighted when Afghanistan, as outlier, is taken out of the comparison.  


Effective policies to reduce NCDs need to be formulated and implemented through an integrated health care system. Our comparison shows that Iran can learn from the experience of a number of these countries to devise and execute the required strategies.

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Shahraz S, Forouzanfar MH, Sepanlou SG, Dicker D, Naghavi P, Pourmalek F, Mokdad A, Lozano R, Vos T, Asadi-Lari M, Sayyari A, Murray CJL, Naghavi M. Population health and burden of disease profile of Iran among 20 countries in the region: from Afghanistan to Qatar and LebanonArchives of Iranian Medicine. 2014 May; 17(05).