Belgian National Burden of Disease Study (BeBOD)

What are the most important diseases in Belgium? Which risk factors contribute most to the overall disease burden? How is the burden of disease evolving over time, and how does it differ across the country? In a context of increasing budgetary constraints, a precise answer to these basic questions is more than ever necessary to inform policy-making.

To address this need, Sciensano is conducting a national burden of disease study. In addition to generating internally consistent estimates of death rate (mortality) or how unhealthy we are (morbidity) by age, sex and region, the burden of disease will also be quantified using Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs). The use of DALYs allows to estimate the years of life lost from premature death and years of life lived with disabilities. It therefore permits a truly comparative ranking of the burden of various diseases, injuries and risk factors.

For more info, please visit the BeBOD project page or read the BeBOD protocol.

  Other BeBOD visualisation tools

Estimates of the fatal and non-fatal burden of 38 key diseases

Estimates of the non-fatal burden of 57 cancer sites

Estimates of the risk factor attributable burden

BeBOD estimates of the fatal burden of disease

Causes of death

Our estimates are based on the official causes of death database compiled by Statbel. We first map the ICD-10 codes of the underlying causes of death to the Global Burden of Disease cause list, consisting of 131 unique causes of deaths. Next, we perform a probabilistic redistribution of ill-defined deaths to specific causes, to obtain a specific cause of death for each deceased person (see Devleesschauwer et al. (2023)).

Years of Life Lost

In addition to counting the number of deaths, we also calculate Years of Life Lost (YLLs) as a measure of premature mortality. YLLs correspond to the life expectancy at the age of death, and therefore give a higher weight to deaths occurring at younger ages. We calculate YLLs using the Global Burden of Disease reference life table, which represents the theoretical maximum number of years that people can expect to live.

Explore our estimates


Explore the main causes of death and years of life lost, by age, sex, region and year.


Explore trends in causes of death and years of life lost, by age, sex and region.


Compare the top causes of death and years of life lost, across region, sex, age or year.


Explore patterns of causes of death and years of life lost, by age, sex, region and year.


Explore the geographical differences in death and years of life lost, by cause, age, sex and year.


Explore and download our estimates of causes of death and years of life lost.

Download all estimates

All estimates can be downloaded in Parquet format via Zenodo:



Aline Scohy, Laura Van den Borre & Brecht Devleesschauwer. (2024). BeBOD estimates of mortality and years of life lost for 131 causes of death, 2004-2021 (v2024-07-11) [Data set]. Zenodo.

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