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      Estimates and 25-year trends of the global burden of disease attributable to ambient air pollution: an analysis of data from the Global Burden of Diseases Study 2015

      , Dr, DSc a , * , * , , Prof, ScD b , * , , PhD c , , Prof, MD d , , MPH e , , MPA e , , Prof, PhD f , , Prof, PhD g , , Prof, MD e , h , , PhD h , , Prof, PhD i , , MPH e , , PhD j , , PhD k , , Prof, MD l , , PhD m , , PhD n , , Prof, PhD o , , PhD p , , Prof, PhD q , , PhD c , , PhD r , , Prof, PhD k , , PhD k , , PhD s , , PhD o , , Prof, PhD e , , Prof, DPhil e , , PhD , e

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          Exposure to ambient air pollution increases morbidity and mortality, and is a leading contributor to global disease burden. We explored spatial and temporal trends in mortality and burden of disease attributable to ambient air pollution from 1990 to 2015 at global, regional, and country levels.


          We estimated global population-weighted mean concentrations of particle mass with aerodynamic diameter less than 2·5 μm (PM 2·5) and ozone at an approximate 11 km × 11 km resolution with satellite-based estimates, chemical transport models, and ground-level measurements. Using integrated exposure–response functions for each cause of death, we estimated the relative risk of mortality from ischaemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, and lower respiratory infections from epidemiological studies using non-linear exposure–response functions spanning the global range of exposure.


          Ambient PM 2·5 was the fifth-ranking mortality risk factor in 2015. Exposure to PM 2·5 caused 4·2 million (95% uncertainty interval [UI] 3·7 million to 4·8 million) deaths and 103·1 million (90·8 million 115·1 million) disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) in 2015, representing 7·6% of total global deaths and 4·2% of global DALYs, 59% of these in east and south Asia. Deaths attributable to ambient PM 2·5 increased from 3·5 million (95% UI 3·0 million to 4·0 million) in 1990 to 4·2 million (3·7 million to 4·8 million) in 2015. Exposure to ozone caused an additional 254 000 (95% UI 97 000–422 000) deaths and a loss of 4·1 million (1·6 million to 6·8 million) DALYs from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in 2015.


          Ambient air pollution contributed substantially to the global burden of disease in 2015, which increased over the past 25 years, due to population ageing, changes in non-communicable disease rates, and increasing air pollution in low-income and middle-income countries. Modest reductions in burden will occur in the most polluted countries unless PM 2·5 values are decreased substantially, but there is potential for substantial health benefits from exposure reduction.


          Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Health Effects Institute.

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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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            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

            Summary Background 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. Methods 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). Findings 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. Interpretation 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. Funding Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
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              Global, regional, and national comparative risk assessment of 79 behavioural, environmental and occupational, and metabolic risks or clusters of risks, 1990–2015: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015

              Summary Background The Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2015 provides an up-to-date synthesis of the evidence for risk factor exposure and the attributable burden of disease. By providing national and subnational assessments spanning the past 25 years, this study can inform debates on the importance of addressing risks in context. Methods We used the comparative risk assessment framework developed for previous iterations of the Global Burden of Disease Study to estimate attributable deaths, disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs), and trends in exposure by age group, sex, year, and geography for 79 behavioural, environmental and occupational, and metabolic risks or clusters of risks from 1990 to 2015. This study included 388 risk-outcome pairs that met World Cancer Research Fund-defined criteria for convincing or probable evidence. We extracted relative risk and exposure estimates from randomised controlled trials, cohorts, pooled cohorts, household surveys, census data, satellite data, and other sources. We used statistical models to pool data, adjust for bias, and incorporate covariates. We developed a metric that allows comparisons of exposure across risk factors—the summary exposure value. Using the counterfactual scenario of theoretical minimum risk level, we estimated the portion of deaths and DALYs that could be attributed to a given risk. We decomposed trends in attributable burden into contributions from population growth, population age structure, risk exposure, and risk-deleted cause-specific DALY rates. We characterised risk exposure in relation to a Socio-demographic Index (SDI). Findings Between 1990 and 2015, global exposure to unsafe sanitation, household air pollution, childhood underweight, childhood stunting, and smoking each decreased by more than 25%. Global exposure for several occupational risks, high body-mass index (BMI), and drug use increased by more than 25% over the same period. All risks jointly evaluated in 2015 accounted for 57·8% (95% CI 56·6–58·8) of global deaths and 41·2% (39·8–42·8) of DALYs. In 2015, the ten largest contributors to global DALYs among Level 3 risks were high systolic blood pressure (211·8 million [192·7 million to 231·1 million] global DALYs), smoking (148·6 million [134·2 million to 163·1 million]), high fasting plasma glucose (143·1 million [125·1 million to 163·5 million]), high BMI (120·1 million [83·8 million to 158·4 million]), childhood undernutrition (113·3 million [103·9 million to 123·4 million]), ambient particulate matter (103·1 million [90·8 million to 115·1 million]), high total cholesterol (88·7 million [74·6 million to 105·7 million]), household air pollution (85·6 million [66·7 million to 106·1 million]), alcohol use (85·0 million [77·2 million to 93·0 million]), and diets high in sodium (83·0 million [49·3 million to 127·5 million]). From 1990 to 2015, attributable DALYs declined for micronutrient deficiencies, childhood undernutrition, unsafe sanitation and water, and household air pollution; reductions in risk-deleted DALY rates rather than reductions in exposure drove these declines. Rising exposure contributed to notable increases in attributable DALYs from high BMI, high fasting plasma glucose, occupational carcinogens, and drug use. Environmental risks and childhood undernutrition declined steadily with SDI; low physical activity, high BMI, and high fasting plasma glucose increased with SDI. In 119 countries, metabolic risks, such as high BMI and fasting plasma glucose, contributed the most attributable DALYs in 2015. Regionally, smoking still ranked among the leading five risk factors for attributable DALYs in 109 countries; childhood underweight and unsafe sex remained primary drivers of early death and disability in much of sub-Saharan Africa. Interpretation Declines in some key environmental risks have contributed to declines in critical infectious diseases. Some risks appear to be invariant to SDI. Increasing risks, including high BMI, high fasting plasma glucose, drug use, and some occupational exposures, contribute to rising burden from some conditions, but also provide opportunities for intervention. Some highly preventable risks, such as smoking, remain major causes of attributable DALYs, even as exposure is declining. Public policy makers need to pay attention to the risks that are increasingly major contributors to global burden. Funding Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

                Author and article information

                Lancet (London, England)
                13 May 2017
                13 May 2017
                : 389
                : 10082
                : 1907-1918
                [a ]Health Effects Institute, Boston, MA, USA
                [b ]University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
                [c ]Health Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada
                [d ]St George's, University of London, London, UK
                [e ]Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Seattle, WA, USA
                [f ]Sri Ramachandra University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
                [g ]University of Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands
                [h ]Public Health Foundation of India, New Delhi, India
                [i ]Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand
                [j ]United States Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, USA
                [k ]University of Bath, Bath, UK
                [l ]Fudan University, Yangpu Qu, Shanghai, China
                [m ]University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD, Australia
                [n ]Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA
                [o ]Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada
                [p ]Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
                [q ]Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, USA
                [r ]International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France
                [s ]European Commission, Brussels, Belgium
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence to: Dr Aaron J Cohen, Health Effects Institute, Boston, MA 02110-1817, USACorrespondence to: Dr Aaron J CohenHealth Effects InstituteBostonMA02110-1817USA acohen@

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                © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an Open Access article under the CC BY 4.0 license

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