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Am J Public Health. 2000 Aug;90(8):1241-7.

A national burden of disease calculation: Dutch disability-adjusted life-years. Dutch Burden of Disease Group.

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Department for Public Health Forecasting, National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, The Netherlands.



This study estimated the burden of disease due to 48 major causes in the Netherlands in 1994 in disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs), using national epidemiologic data and disability weights, and explored associated problems and uncertainties.


We combined data from Dutch vital statistics, registrations, and surveys with Dutch disability weights to calculate disease-specific health loss in DALYs, which are the sum of years of life lost (YLLs) and years lived with disability (YLDs) weighted for severity.


YLLs were primarily lost by cardiovascular diseases and cancers, while YLDs were mostly lost by mental disorders and a range of chronic somatic disorders (such as chronic nonspecific lung disease and diabetes). These 4 diagnostic groups caused approximately equal numbers of DALYs. Sensitivity analysis calls for improving the accuracy of the epidemiologic data in connection with disability weights, especially for mild and frequent diseases.


The DALY approach appeared to be feasible at a national Western European level and produced interpretable results, comparable to results from the Global Burden of Disease Study for the Established Market Economies. Suggestions for improving the methodology and its applicability are presented.

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