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Use of national health interview data to measure the burden of disease and injuries
  1. F J Basterra-Gortari,
  2. M Segui-Gomez
  1. Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Universidad de Navarra, Spain
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr M Seguí-Gómez
 Departamento de Medicina Preventiva y Salud Pública, Edificio de Investigación, Universidad de Navarra, Irunlarrea 1, Pamplona 31080, Spain; msegui{at}


Background: Although it is acknowledged that injuries place a substantial burden on populations throughout the world, few studies have measured the burden of non-fatal injuries and compared it with that of other health conditions.

Methods: Data for the adult population were obtained from the 2001 Spanish National Health Interview, a household telephone survey of the Spanish population. Differences in six measures of burden were compared for up to 11 conditions by age and gender. Proportions and their 95% CIs are reported.

Results: Injuries contribute 11–23% of the total health burden of the adult Spanish population, depending on which of the six indicators is used. They rank first and second out of the 11 conditions with regard to emergency visits and hospital admission, respectively. They rank third to sixth when other measures are chosen (ie, reduction in leisure activities, reduction in main activities, consulting a doctor, bedridden for half a day). Rheumatological, cardiovascular, and respiratory conditions are the only other conditions with a burden of comparable magnitude.

Conclusion: In the adult Spanish population, injuries are an important cause of burden, regardless of the specific indicator used to define burden. These findings are likely to be equally applicable in similar countries. This type of comparison may raise the profile of injuries among health professionals and policy makers.

  • disease and injury burden
  • national health interviews
  • rheumatological disease
  • cardiovascular disease
  • respiratory disease

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  • Partial financial support was provided by the Fondo de Investigación Sanitaria (PI030678) and the Ramon y Cajal Program (to MS-G).

  • Competing interests: None declared.