The objective of this article was to give a conceptual survey of old and new measures for a nation's state of health with special focus on new measures seeking to combine mortality with morbidity, functional, and quality of life dimensions. Internationally, the development has given rise to two different movements. One (represented by Denmark and the rest of the EU) aims to develop a large number of standardized indicators, whereas the other (represented by the WHO and the World Bank) builds on the idea that it must be possible to combine the many indicators into a single summary measure for a nation's state of health. In the summary measures, distinction is made between health expectancy and health gap measures. Attention is given to reviewing DALY (disability-adjusted life years), disability weighting, and the social value choices applied in WHO's World Health Report 2000.
Comment In: Ugeskr Laeger. 2003 Jun 23;165(26):263512886543