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  • Norwegian disease burden report launched


Norwegian disease burden report launched

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The report provides a comprehensive and detailed overview of disease, deaths and risk factors in Norway. It is based on a method that makes it possible to compare healthy years lost from fatal conditions such as cancer and non-fatal conditions such as lower back and neck pain.

Unhealthy diet is important risk factor

One of the major findings from the report is that an unhealthy diet is the most important risk factor for premature deaths in Norway.

“46 per cent of all deaths before the age of 70 in Norway can be explained by behavioural factors such as unhealthy diet, obesity, low physical activity and the use of alcohol, tobacco and drugs” says Professor Stein Emil Vollset, Director of the newly established Centre for Burden of Disease at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

“If we consider the population as a whole, it appears that an unhealthy diet represents a greater risk to public health than smoking. This is not because an unhealthy diet is more dangerous than smoking but because fewer Norwegians now smoke. Since 1990, the percentage of smokers in Norway has decreased from 35 per cent to 13 per cent”, explains Vollset.

By addressing these risk factors, much of Norway’s disease burden could be reduced. Up to 100,000 years of life could be saved if Norwegians ate healthier diets.

Drug overdose and suicide rates high

Among the under-49 age group, suicide and drug overdoses are the main causes of death in Norway, with the highest rates among the Nordic countries (Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden).

The report shows that lower back pain, neck pain, anxiety and depression are among the main causes of poor health among the Norwegian population as a whole, while heart disease and cancer claim most lives.

The report also shows that life expectancy has increased by five years, from 76.8 years in 1990 to 81.4 years in 2013. The reduction in deaths from cardiovascular disease is the main reason for this increase.

About the report

The Norwegian report includes contributions from more than 20 researchers from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health who have summarised and evaluated the credibility of results, soundness of methods, and availability of local data sources not captured by the GBD 2013 staff and collaborators.

The main report is in Norwegian but the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation have compiled a short summary about the results in English.