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Publication date: 
February 21, 2019


Everyone deserves a long and healthy life, but in reality, health outcomes differ across populations. We use results from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017 (GBD 2017) to report patterns in the burden of diseases, injuries, and risks at the global, regional, national, and subnational level, and by sociodemographic index (SDI), from 1990 to 2017.


GBD 2017 undertook a systematic analysis of published studies and available data providing information on prevalence, incidence, remission, and excess mortality. We computed prevalence, incidence, mortality, life expectancy, healthy life expectancy, years of life lost due to premature mortality, years lived with disability, and disability-adjusted life years with 95% uncertainty intervals for 23 age groups, both sexes, and 918 locations, including 195 countries and territories and subnational locations for 16 countries from 1990 to 2017. We also computed SDI, a summary indicator combining measures of income, education, and fertility.


There were wide disparities in the burden of disease by SDI, with smaller burdens in affluent countries and in specific regions within countries. Select diseases and risks, such as drug use disorders, high blood pressure, high body mass index, diet, high fasting plasma glucose, smoking, and alcohol use disorders warrant increased global attention and indicate a need for greater investment in prevention and treatment across the life course.


Policymakers need a comprehensive picture of what risks and causes result in disability and death. The GBD provides the means to quantify health loss: these findings can be used to examine root causes of disparities and develop programs to improve health and health equity.


Mokdad AH, Mensah GA, Krish V, Glenn SD, Miller-Petrie MK, Lopez AD, Murray CJL. Global, Regional, National, and Subnational Big Data to Inform Health Equity Research: Perspectives from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017Ethnicity & Disease. 21 Feb 2019; 29(1):159-172. doi:10.18865/ed.29.S1.159.