Potential Gains in Health-Adjusted Life Expectancy by Reducing Burden of Noncommunicable Diseases in 188 Countries: A Population-Based Study

Published:December 19, 2022DOI:


      • Meeting Sustainable Development Goals target 3.4 would have substantial effects on life expectancy globally.
      • Reducing premature mortality and disability from noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) at once and attaching equal importance to each lead to a sizable improvement in health-adjusted life expectancy.
      • In the context of a marked shift toward a greater proportion of burden because of years lived with disability from NCDs, the global effect of the equal emphasis on reducing disability and premature mortality from NCDs and its capacity to enable improvement in quality of life provides a crucial reference for shaping policy and identifying priorities for interventions.



      This article quantifies the potential gains in health-adjusted life expectancy for people aged 30 to 70 years (HALE[30-70]) by examining the reductions in disability in addition to premature mortality from noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).


      We extracted data from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019 for 4 major NCDs (cancers, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes mellitus) in 188 countries from 2010 to 2019. Estimates of the potential gains in HALE[30-70] were based on a counterfactual analysis involving 3 alternative future scenarios: (1) achieve Sustainable Development Goals target 3.4 but do not make any progress on disability reduction, (2) achieve Sustainable Development Goals target 3.4 and eliminate NCD-related disability, and (3) eliminate all NCD-related mortality and disability.


      In all scenarios, the high-income group has the greatest potential gains in HALE[30-70], above the global average. For all specific causes, potential gains in HALE[30-70] decrease as income levels fall. Across these 3 scenarios, the potential gains in HALE[30-70] globally of reducing premature mortality for 4 major NCDs are 3.13 years, 4.53 years, and 7.32 years, respectively. In scenario A, all income groups have the greatest potential gains in HALE[30-70] from diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases. In scenarios B and C, the high-income group has the greatest potential gains in HALE[30-70] from cancer intervention, and the other income groups have the greatest potential gains in HALE[30-70] from cardiovascular diseases intervention.


      Reducing premature death and disability from 4 major NCDs at once and attaching equal importance to each lead to a sizable improvement in HALE[30-70].


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