Health trends in Canada 1990-2019: An analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study

Document Type



Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health; Paediatrics and Child Health


Objective: Monitoring trends in key population health indicators is important for informing health policies. The aim of this study was to examine population health trends in Canada over the past 30 years in relation to other countries.
Methods: We used data on disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), years of life lost (YLL), years lived with disability, life expectancy (LE), and child mortality for Canada and other countries between 1990 and 2019 provided by the Global Burden of Disease Study.
Results: Life expectancy, age-standardized YLL, and age-standardized DALYs all improved in Canada between 1990 and 2019, although the rate of improvement has leveled off since 2011. The top five causes of all-age DALYs in Canada in 2019 were neoplasms, cardiovascular diseases, musculoskeletal disorders, neurological disorders, and mental disorders. The greatest increases in all-age DALYs since 1990 were observed for substance use, diabetes and chronic kidney disease, and sense organ disorders. Age-standardized DALYs declined for most conditions, except for substance use, diabetes and chronic kidney disease, and musculoskeletal disorders, which increased by 94.6%, 14.6%, and 7.3% respectively since 1990. Canada's world ranking for age-standardized DALYs declined from 9th place in 1990 to 24th in 2019.
Conclusion: Canadians are healthier today than in 1990, but progress has slowed in Canada in recent years in comparison with other high-income countries. The growing burden of substance abuse, diabetes/chronic kidney disease, and musculoskeletal diseases will require continued action to improve population health.


Volume, issue and pagination are not provided by the author/publisher.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Canadian Journal of Public Health