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The relevance of population health indicators
  1. J-M Robine
  1. Demographie et Sante, Val d’Aurelle Parc Euromedecine, Montpellier cedex 5, 34298, France
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr J-M Robine;

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In this issue of the journal Daniel Reidpath and Pascale Allotey provocatively wonder if disability adjusted life expectancy (DALE) brings more information than infant mortality rate (IMR) when comparing the overall health status of different populations.1 It is a relevant question because on the one hand IMR is easy to compute and to understand. It requires mortality and population data, which are not too difficult to collect. On the other hand DALE is quite difficult to compute and to precisely understand. It requires a lot of data that are much more difficult and expensive to collect thus raising additional data quality concerns.

When the WHO published for the first time an estimation of DALE for the its 191 member states for the years 1997 and 1999,2 the results seemed surprising: a quasi perfect linear correlation between life expectancy at birth (LE) and DALE …

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