"Drapeau au Parlement du Canada" by abdallahh is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Canadians Enjoy High Level of Health and Longevity

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"Drapeau au Parlement du Canada" by abdallahh is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr. Justin Lang, PhD

Research Analyst, Public Health Agency of Canada

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: This study is based on the Global Burden of Disease Study, which is led by the Institute of Health Metrics at the University of Washington. In this study, we present estimates from the Global Burden of Disease Study to describe the major causes of health loss among Canadians, and how these have changed from 1990 to 2016.

In 2016, cancers, cardiovascular diseases, musculoskeletal disorders, and mental and substance use disorders, combined, resulted in over half of the total health loss among Canadians as measured by disability adjusted life years. Disability-adjusted life years is a measure that combines both mortality, through years of life lost, and morbidity, through years lived with disability, into a single measure that allows us to compare health loss from different causes using the same metric.

The all-cause age-standardized years of life lost rate declined 12% between 2006 and 2016, while the all-cause age-standardized years lived with disability rate remained stable (+1%) and the all-cause age-standardized disability-adjusted life year rate declined by 5%.

Finally, between 1990 and 2016, there has been a shift in what contributes to health loss in Canada from premature mortality to disability. In 1990, 45% of total all-cause disability-adjusted life years were due to years lived with disability. By 2016, this proportion grew to 52%. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Overall, this study shows that Canada is doing well, with a relatively high level of overall health, and with life expectancy and health adjusted life expectancy that is on par with other similar countries.

Age-standardized rates of disability-adjusted life years are decreasing for most diseases and injuries. However, both musculoskeletal disorders and mental and substance use disorders demonstrated an increase in age-standardized rates between 2006 and 2016, which highlights the need to continue to monitor these causes.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Our study only scratches the surface of the data available through the Global Burden of Disease Study. Readers who are interested in a particular disease or injury should look through the available Appendices from this study, and for more details and data, they are invited to visit the Global Burden of Disease website (www.healthdata.org). There are many opportunities for future research available through the Global Burden of Disease Study. 

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add? 

Response: The Global Burden of Disease Study is partially funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The funders had no role in the study design, data analysis, data interpretation or writing of the report. Nicole Kozloff is supported by a NARSAD Young Investigator Grant from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation. Aaron Drucker reports grants and personal fees from Sanofi and Regeneron for activities outside the work reported here. No other competing interests were declared.


Global Burden of Disease Study trends for Canada from 1990 to 2016

Justin J. LangSamiah AlamLeah E. CahillAaron M. DruckerCarolyn GotayJeanne F. KayibandaNicole KozloffKedar K.V. MateScott B. Patten and Heather M. Orpana

CMAJ 5 Nov 2018

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Last Updated on November 5, 2018 by Marie Benz MD FAAD