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Summary Measures of Population Health

epidemiological estimates (if available, of course!) of average time spent with symptoms, while the second option restricts you to making assump- tions on the proportions of asthmatics in each severity category.

In conclusion, the Dutch Disability Weight Study has made a great contribution by developing weights for different levels of severity for important disabling conditions and by adding a generic health state de- scription to the disease labels of the conditions valued. However, their use of annual profiles for short duration conditions has rendered implausible weights. Even if the weights would have been more credible, stipulating a certain duration in the description of health states to be valued severely limits the application of such weights in burden of disease studies.


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Mathers CD, Vos T, Stevenson C (1999) The burden of disease and injury in Australia. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Canberra. http:// www.aihw.gov.au/publications/health/bdia.html.

Melse JM, Kramers PGN (1998) Berekening van de ziektelast in Nederland. Achtergronddokument bij VTV-1997; deel III, hoofdstuk 7, [Calculation of the burden of disease in the Netherlands. Background document to VTV-1997; part III, chapter 7]. Rijksinstitut voor Volkgezondheit en Milieu [National Institute of Public Health and the Environment], Bilthoven.

Murray CJL, Lopez AD, eds. (1996) The global burden of disease: a comprehensive assessment of mortality and disability from diseases, injuries and risk factors in 1990 and projected to 2020. Global Burden of Disease and Injury, Vol. 1. Harvard School of Public Health on behalf of WHO, Cambridge, MA.

Stouthard MEA, Essink-Bot ML, Bonsel GJ, et al. (1997) Disability weights for diseases in the Netherlands. Erasmus University, Department of Public Health, Rotterdam.

Vos T, Begg S (2000) Victorian burden of disease study: morbidity. Public Health Division, Department of Human Services, Melbourne. http:// www.dhs.vic.gov.au/phd/9909065/index.htm.

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