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Publication date: 
September 30, 2020


Brazil is the world’s fifth most populous nation, and is currently experimenting a fast demographic aging process in a context of scarce resources and social inequalities. To understand the health profile of older adults in Brazil is fundamental for planning public policies.


The estimates were derived from data obtained through the collaboration between the Brazilian Ministry of Health and the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation of the University of Washington. The Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics provided the population estimates. Data on causes of death came from the Mortality Information System. To calculate morbidity, population-based studies on the prevalence of diseases in Brazil were comprehensively searched, in addition to information obtained from national databases such as the Hospital Information System, the Outpatient Information System, and the Injury Information System. We presented the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2017 estimates among Brazilian older adults (60+ years old) for life expectancy at birth (LE), healthy life expectancy (HALE), cause-specific mortality, years of life lost (YLLs), years lived with disability (YLDs), and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), from 2000 to 2017.


LE at birth significantly increased from 71.3 years (95% UI to 70.9-71.8) to 75.2 years (95% UI 74.7-75.7). There was a trend of increasing HALE, from 62.2 years (95% UI 59.54-64.5) to 65.5 years (95% UI 62.6-68.0). The proportion of DALYs among older adults increased from 7.3 to 10.3%. Chronic noncommunicable diseases are the leading cause of death among middle aged and older adults, while Alzheimer’s disease is a leading cause only among older adults. Mood disorders, musculoskeletal pain, and hearing or vision losses are among the leading causes of disability.


The increase in LE and the decrease of the DALYs rates are probably results of the improvement of social conditions and health policies. However, the smaller increase of HALE than LE means that despite living more, people spend a substantial time of their old age with disability and illness. Preventable or potentially controllable diseases are responsible for most of the burden of disease among Brazilian older adults. Health investments are necessary to obtain longevity with quality of life in Brazil.


Passos VMA, Champs APS, Teixeira R, Lima-Costa MFF, Kirkwood R, Veras R, Nascimento BR, Nogales AM, Schmidt MI, Duncan BB, Cousin E, Naghavi M, Souza FM. The burden of disease among Brazilian older adults and the challenge for health policies: results of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017. Population Heath Metrics. 30 September 2020. doi: 10.1186/s12963-020-00206-3.