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      Global, regional, and national life expectancy, all-cause mortality, and cause-specific mortality for 249 causes of death, 1980–2015: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015

      GBD 2015 Mortality and Causes of Death Collaborators

      Lancet (London, England)


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          Improving survival and extending the longevity of life for all populations requires timely, robust evidence on local mortality levels and trends. The Global Burden of Disease 2015 Study (GBD 2015) provides a comprehensive assessment of all-cause and cause-specific mortality for 249 causes in 195 countries and territories from 1980 to 2015. These results informed an in-depth investigation of observed and expected mortality patterns based on sociodemographic measures.


          We estimated all-cause mortality by age, sex, geography, and year using an improved analytical approach originally developed for GBD 2013 and GBD 2010. Improvements included refinements to the estimation of child and adult mortality and corresponding uncertainty, parameter selection for under-5 mortality synthesis by spatiotemporal Gaussian process regression, and sibling history data processing. We also expanded the database of vital registration, survey, and census data to 14 294 geography–year datapoints. For GBD 2015, eight causes, including Ebola virus disease, were added to the previous GBD cause list for mortality. We used six modelling approaches to assess cause-specific mortality, with the Cause of Death Ensemble Model (CODEm) generating estimates for most causes. We used a series of novel analyses to systematically quantify the drivers of trends in mortality across geographies. First, we assessed observed and expected levels and trends of cause-specific mortality as they relate to the Socio-demographic Index (SDI), a summary indicator derived from measures of income per capita, educational attainment, and fertility. Second, we examined factors affecting total mortality patterns through a series of counterfactual scenarios, testing the magnitude by which population growth, population age structures, and epidemiological changes contributed to shifts in mortality. Finally, we attributed changes in life expectancy to changes in cause of death. We documented each step of the GBD 2015 estimation processes, as well as data sources, in accordance with Guidelines for Accurate and Transparent Health Estimates Reporting (GATHER).


          Globally, life expectancy from birth increased from 61·7 years (95% uncertainty interval 61·4–61·9) in 1980 to 71·8 years (71·5–72·2) in 2015. Several countries in sub-Saharan Africa had very large gains in life expectancy from 2005 to 2015, rebounding from an era of exceedingly high loss of life due to HIV/AIDS. At the same time, many geographies saw life expectancy stagnate or decline, particularly for men and in countries with rising mortality from war or interpersonal violence. From 2005 to 2015, male life expectancy in Syria dropped by 11·3 years (3·7–17·4), to 62·6 years (56·5–70·2). Total deaths increased by 4·1% (2·6–5·6) from 2005 to 2015, rising to 55·8 million (54·9 million to 56·6 million) in 2015, but age-standardised death rates fell by 17·0% (15·8–18·1) during this time, underscoring changes in population growth and shifts in global age structures. The result was similar for non-communicable diseases (NCDs), with total deaths from these causes increasing by 14·1% (12·6–16·0) to 39·8 million (39·2 million to 40·5 million) in 2015, whereas age-standardised rates decreased by 13·1% (11·9–14·3). Globally, this mortality pattern emerged for several NCDs, including several types of cancer, ischaemic heart disease, cirrhosis, and Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. By contrast, both total deaths and age-standardised death rates due to communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional conditions significantly declined from 2005 to 2015, gains largely attributable to decreases in mortality rates due to HIV/AIDS (42·1%, 39·1–44·6), malaria (43·1%, 34·7–51·8), neonatal preterm birth complications (29·8%, 24·8–34·9), and maternal disorders (29·1%, 19·3–37·1). Progress was slower for several causes, such as lower respiratory infections and nutritional deficiencies, whereas deaths increased for others, including dengue and drug use disorders. Age-standardised death rates due to injuries significantly declined from 2005 to 2015, yet interpersonal violence and war claimed increasingly more lives in some regions, particularly in the Middle East. In 2015, rotaviral enteritis (rotavirus) was the leading cause of under-5 deaths due to diarrhoea (146 000 deaths, 118 000–183 000) and pneumococcal pneumonia was the leading cause of under-5 deaths due to lower respiratory infections (393 000 deaths, 228 000–532 000), although pathogen-specific mortality varied by region. Globally, the effects of population growth, ageing, and changes in age-standardised death rates substantially differed by cause. Our analyses on the expected associations between cause-specific mortality and SDI show the regular shifts in cause of death composition and population age structure with rising SDI. Country patterns of premature mortality (measured as years of life lost [YLLs]) and how they differ from the level expected on the basis of SDI alone revealed distinct but highly heterogeneous patterns by region and country or territory. Ischaemic heart disease, stroke, and diabetes were among the leading causes of YLLs in most regions, but in many cases, intraregional results sharply diverged for ratios of observed and expected YLLs based on SDI. Communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional diseases caused the most YLLs throughout sub-Saharan Africa, with observed YLLs far exceeding expected YLLs for countries in which malaria or HIV/AIDS remained the leading causes of early death.


          At the global scale, age-specific mortality has steadily improved over the past 35 years; this pattern of general progress continued in the past decade. Progress has been faster in most countries than expected on the basis of development measured by the SDI. Against this background of progress, some countries have seen falls in life expectancy, and age-standardised death rates for some causes are increasing. Despite progress in reducing age-standardised death rates, population growth and ageing mean that the number of deaths from most non-communicable causes are increasing in most countries, putting increased demands on health systems.


          Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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          Most cited references 159

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            Global and regional mortality from 235 causes of death for 20 age groups in 1990 and 2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010.

            Reliable and timely information on the leading causes of death in populations, and how these are changing, is a crucial input into health policy debates. In the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2010 (GBD 2010), we aimed to estimate annual deaths for the world and 21 regions between 1980 and 2010 for 235 causes, with uncertainty intervals (UIs), separately by age and sex. We attempted to identify all available data on causes of death for 187 countries from 1980 to 2010 from vital registration, verbal autopsy, mortality surveillance, censuses, surveys, hospitals, police records, and mortuaries. We assessed data quality for completeness, diagnostic accuracy, missing data, stochastic variations, and probable causes of death. We applied six different modelling strategies to estimate cause-specific mortality trends depending on the strength of the data. For 133 causes and three special aggregates we used the Cause of Death Ensemble model (CODEm) approach, which uses four families of statistical models testing a large set of different models using different permutations of covariates. Model ensembles were developed from these component models. We assessed model performance with rigorous out-of-sample testing of prediction error and the validity of 95% UIs. For 13 causes with low observed numbers of deaths, we developed negative binomial models with plausible covariates. For 27 causes for which death is rare, we modelled the higher level cause in the cause hierarchy of the GBD 2010 and then allocated deaths across component causes proportionately, estimated from all available data in the database. For selected causes (African trypanosomiasis, congenital syphilis, whooping cough, measles, typhoid and parathyroid, leishmaniasis, acute hepatitis E, and HIV/AIDS), we used natural history models based on information on incidence, prevalence, and case-fatality. We separately estimated cause fractions by aetiology for diarrhoea, lower respiratory infections, and meningitis, as well as disaggregations by subcause for chronic kidney disease, maternal disorders, cirrhosis, and liver cancer. For deaths due to collective violence and natural disasters, we used mortality shock regressions. For every cause, we estimated 95% UIs that captured both parameter estimation uncertainty and uncertainty due to model specification where CODEm was used. We constrained cause-specific fractions within every age-sex group to sum to total mortality based on draws from the uncertainty distributions. In 2010, there were 52·8 million deaths globally. At the most aggregate level, communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional causes were 24·9% of deaths worldwide in 2010, down from 15·9 million (34·1%) of 46·5 million in 1990. This decrease was largely due to decreases in mortality from diarrhoeal disease (from 2·5 to 1·4 million), lower respiratory infections (from 3·4 to 2·8 million), neonatal disorders (from 3·1 to 2·2 million), measles (from 0·63 to 0·13 million), and tetanus (from 0·27 to 0·06 million). Deaths from HIV/AIDS increased from 0·30 million in 1990 to 1·5 million in 2010, reaching a peak of 1·7 million in 2006. Malaria mortality also rose by an estimated 19·9% since 1990 to 1·17 million deaths in 2010. Tuberculosis killed 1·2 million people in 2010. Deaths from non-communicable diseases rose by just under 8 million between 1990 and 2010, accounting for two of every three deaths (34·5 million) worldwide by 2010. 8 million people died from cancer in 2010, 38% more than two decades ago; of these, 1·5 million (19%) were from trachea, bronchus, and lung cancer. Ischaemic heart disease and stroke collectively killed 12·9 million people in 2010, or one in four deaths worldwide, compared with one in five in 1990; 1·3 million deaths were due to diabetes, twice as many as in 1990. The fraction of global deaths due to injuries (5·1 million deaths) was marginally higher in 2010 (9·6%) compared with two decades earlier (8·8%). This was driven by a 46% rise in deaths worldwide due to road traffic accidents (1·3 million in 2010) and a rise in deaths from falls. Ischaemic heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lower respiratory infections, lung cancer, and HIV/AIDS were the leading causes of death in 2010. Ischaemic heart disease, lower respiratory infections, stroke, diarrhoeal disease, malaria, and HIV/AIDS were the leading causes of years of life lost due to premature mortality (YLLs) in 2010, similar to what was estimated for 1990, except for HIV/AIDS and preterm birth complications. YLLs from lower respiratory infections and diarrhoea decreased by 45-54% since 1990; ischaemic heart disease and stroke YLLs increased by 17-28%. Regional variations in leading causes of death were substantial. Communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional causes still accounted for 76% of premature mortality in sub-Saharan Africa in 2010. Age standardised death rates from some key disorders rose (HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes mellitus, and chronic kidney disease in particular), but for most diseases, death rates fell in the past two decades; including major vascular diseases, COPD, most forms of cancer, liver cirrhosis, and maternal disorders. For other conditions, notably malaria, prostate cancer, and injuries, little change was noted. Population growth, increased average age of the world's population, and largely decreasing age-specific, sex-specific, and cause-specific death rates combine to drive a broad shift from communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional causes towards non-communicable diseases. Nevertheless, communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional causes remain the dominant causes of YLLs in sub-Saharan Africa. Overlaid on this general pattern of the epidemiological transition, marked regional variation exists in many causes, such as interpersonal violence, suicide, liver cancer, diabetes, cirrhosis, Chagas disease, African trypanosomiasis, melanoma, and others. Regional heterogeneity highlights the importance of sound epidemiological assessments of the causes of death on a regular basis. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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              A comparative risk assessment of burden of disease and injury attributable to 67 risk factors and risk factor clusters in 21 regions, 1990-2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010.

              Quantification of the disease burden caused by different risks informs prevention by providing an account of health loss different to that provided by a disease-by-disease analysis. No complete revision of global disease burden caused by risk factors has been done since a comparative risk assessment in 2000, and no previous analysis has assessed changes in burden attributable to risk factors over time. We estimated deaths and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs; sum of years lived with disability [YLD] and years of life lost [YLL]) attributable to the independent effects of 67 risk factors and clusters of risk factors for 21 regions in 1990 and 2010. We estimated exposure distributions for each year, region, sex, and age group, and relative risks per unit of exposure by systematically reviewing and synthesising published and unpublished data. We used these estimates, together with estimates of cause-specific deaths and DALYs from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010, to calculate the burden attributable to each risk factor exposure compared with the theoretical-minimum-risk exposure. We incorporated uncertainty in disease burden, relative risks, and exposures into our estimates of attributable burden. In 2010, the three leading risk factors for global disease burden were high blood pressure (7·0% [95% uncertainty interval 6·2-7·7] of global DALYs), tobacco smoking including second-hand smoke (6·3% [5·5-7·0]), and alcohol use (5·5% [5·0-5·9]). In 1990, the leading risks were childhood underweight (7·9% [6·8-9·4]), household air pollution from solid fuels (HAP; 7·0% [5·6-8·3]), and tobacco smoking including second-hand smoke (6·1% [5·4-6·8]). Dietary risk factors and physical inactivity collectively accounted for 10·0% (95% UI 9·2-10·8) of global DALYs in 2010, with the most prominent dietary risks being diets low in fruits and those high in sodium. Several risks that primarily affect childhood communicable diseases, including unimproved water and sanitation and childhood micronutrient deficiencies, fell in rank between 1990 and 2010, with unimproved water and sanitation accounting for 0·9% (0·4-1·6) of global DALYs in 2010. However, in most of sub-Saharan Africa childhood underweight, HAP, and non-exclusive and discontinued breastfeeding were the leading risks in 2010, while HAP was the leading risk in south Asia. The leading risk factor in Eastern Europe, most of Latin America, and southern sub-Saharan Africa in 2010 was alcohol use; in most of Asia, North Africa and Middle East, and central Europe it was high blood pressure. Despite declines, tobacco smoking including second-hand smoke remained the leading risk in high-income north America and western Europe. High body-mass index has increased globally and it is the leading risk in Australasia and southern Latin America, and also ranks high in other high-income regions, North Africa and Middle East, and Oceania. Worldwide, the contribution of different risk factors to disease burden has changed substantially, with a shift away from risks for communicable diseases in children towards those for non-communicable diseases in adults. These changes are related to the ageing population, decreased mortality among children younger than 5 years, changes in cause-of-death composition, and changes in risk factor exposures. New evidence has led to changes in the magnitude of key risks including unimproved water and sanitation, vitamin A and zinc deficiencies, and ambient particulate matter pollution. The extent to which the epidemiological shift has occurred and what the leading risks currently are varies greatly across regions. In much of sub-Saharan Africa, the leading risks are still those associated with poverty and those that affect children. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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                Lancet (London, England)
                08 October 2016
                08 October 2016
                : 388
                : 10053
                : 1459-1544
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                Collaborators listed at the end of the Article

                © 2016 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an Open Access article under the CC BY license

                This is an open access article under the CC BY license (




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