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Premature Deaths in India

  • 13 Nov 2019
  • 3 min read

Why in News

A recently released study by the Lancet Global Health shows that different states in India have different causes for premature deaths in the country.

  • The study shows that 9.7 million people face premature deaths in India (2017).
    • Premature deaths are death that occurs before the average age of death in a certain population.
  • Premature deaths due to various causes expressed as Years of Life Lost (YLL) are unevenly distributed in terms of the burden on the states.
    • The Years of Life Lost (YLL) is a measure of premature mortality. It estimates the years of potential life lost due to premature deaths.

Key Findings

  • The different causes of premature deaths in India include:
    • Liver and alcohol related issues:
      • These are high in the northeastern states, Bihar, Karnataka, and Maharashtra, accounting for 18% of national YLLs.
    • Suicides:
      • These are highest in the southern states, accounting for 15% of national YLLs.
    • Cancer:
      • The Northeastern states, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Haryana, Gujarat, Kerala, Karnataka, and Madhya Pradesh account for 44% of India’s cancer burden.
    • Road traffic injuries:
      • Theses are high in the northern states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh, accounting for 33% of national YLLs.
  • More than three-quarters of premature deaths and Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALY) occurred in rural areas, and males accounted for 54.3% of all DALYs.
    • Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) is the sum of the number of years of life lost due to premature death and a weighted measure of the years lived with disability due to a disease or injury. India had 486 million DALYs in 2017.
    • DALY rates in rural areas of India are at least twice those of urban areas.


  • DALYs for a disease or health condition are calculated as the sum of the Years of Life Lost (YLL) due to premature mortality in the population and the Years Lost due to Disability (YLD) for people living with the health condition or its consequences
  • Simply, it can be written as DALY= YLL+YLD.

Source: IE

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