The Global Burden of Disease Study for England, led by Public Health England (PHE), was recently published in The Lancet. This ranks the diseases and risk factors that cause death and disability in England compared with other high-income countries. In addition, the study has broken down national-level data by region for the first time.

The wealth of data in the study and the tool allows you to drill down and focus on the areas that are of greatest importance to you and the communities you serve.

Key messages

  • Between 1990 and 2013, life expectancy in England increased by 5.4 years (from 75.9 years to 81.3 years), which is one of the biggest improvements compared with other high income countries such as Norway, USA, Canada and Finland.
  • Although premature mortality has fallen dramatically, rates of ill health have not. We are living longer, but spending more years in poor health. As an example, the years of life lost to the diabetes have decreased by 56% but years living with disability have increased by over 75%.
  • The progress made in the nation’s health has not been matched by reductions in inequalities: the gap in life expectancy between the most and least deprived is virtually unchanged.
  • Known risk factors account for around 40% of total ill health in England and are therefore potentially preventable:
  • Unhealthy diet (10.8%) followed by tobacco (10.7%), are the two known risk factors contributing most to overall disease burden.
  • Most of the known risk factors are strongly related to socioeconomic measures, making economic growth and prosperity an important way of improving people’s health.