This section includes summary health measures that are used internationally to monitor population health status.

The health-related quality of life (HRQoL) section includes:

  • Life expectancy which is estimated from death rates and expressed as years of life remaining from a specific age—typically at birth or at age 65.
  • Health adjusted life years (HALYs) which extend the concept of life expectancy to the expected years of life lived in full health.
  • Self-rated health—one of the most frequently used measures in health and social research.
  • A measure of health-related quality of life (HRQoL) which is a multidimensional concept that refers to how people affect or are affected by health.1

Burden of disease is a complex analytical method that combines the effects of morbidity and mortality into a single metric. It measures health burden in terms of the years of life lost due to death or disability. It is calculated using a range of inputs such as life expectancy; number and causes of death; age at death, prevalence of diseases and risk factors, conceptual models of disease progression and comorbidity adjustments, risk factor exposure minimum risk estimates, risk factor disease attributable fractions and life table and population estimates. The evidence-base contributing to these inputs is constantly updated.

In addition to the measures here, a measure of HRQoL used in health economics is in the Valuing Our Health section. Mortality measures are also commonly used and are in the Mortality section.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2021. Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQOL). Accessed: 28 September 2022.

Last updated: June 2023