The Belgian national burden of disease study quantifies the health impact of 37 key diseases in terms of Disability-Adjusted Life Years (healthy life years lost due to morbidity and mortality).
In 2019, the considered 37 key diseases led to a loss of 2.3 million healthy life years (20,102 DALYs per 100,000), of which 1.2 million were lost due to premature mortality (10,518 YLLs per 100,000) and 1.1 million were lost due to a reduced quality of life as a result of living with a disability (9,684 YLDs per 100,000).
In Belgium, mental and substance use disorders, cancers, and musculoskeletal disorders were the leading causes of the total disease burden (DALY); cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and neurological disorder were the leading causes of disease burden due to premature mortality (YLL); and mental and substance use disorders, musculoskeletal disorders, and sense organ disorders were the leading causes of disease burden due to reduced quality of life (YLD).
The total disease burden is almost equally attributable to premature mortality (52%) as to losses in quality of life (48%). The age adjusted rate of the total disease burden is higher among men compared to women, and the largest share of the total disease burden is borne by the elderly (65+).
The total disease burden is the highest in the Walloon Region, followed by the Brussels Capital Region, and Flemish Region. Among EU-14 countries, Belgium ranks 2nd worst in terms of total disease burden and disease burden due to losses in quality of life, and third worst in terms of disease burden due to premature mortality.