Bottom Line: This study analyzed data from around the world to estimate illness and death in children and adolescents (birth up to age 20) in 195 countries and territories from 1990 to 2017. Mortality decreased over the 27-year period and that meant children and adolescents were more likely to reach their 20th birthdays. The fastest decline in deaths was among children 1 to 4 years old mostly due to global declines in deaths due to diarrhea, respiratory infection and other common infectious diseases. However, nonfatal health loss as measured by years lived with disability (YLDs) increased, with some of the leading causes of YLDs in 2017 including iron-deficient anemia, vitamin A deficiency, neonatal disorders, congenital disorders and mental health disorders. The Global Burden of Disease 2017 collaborators who authored the study note that these summary measures of population health are influenced by data availability and time lags in the reporting of certain health information may mean the estimates are based on data already out of date. Researchers urge that careful attention be paid to nonfatal illness and disability among children and adolescents around the globe.
Authors: Nicholas J. Kassebaum, M.D., Institute for Health Metrics & Evaluation, Seattle, and coauthors
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