How do Japanese rate the severity of different diseases and injuries?-an assessment of disability weights for 231 health states by 37,318 Japanese respondents.


We considered 37,318 nationally representative respondents. The values of the resulting DWs ranged from 0.707 (95% uncertainty interval (UI) 0.527-0.842) for spinal cord injury at neck level (untreated) to 0.004 (UI 0.001-0.009) for mild anemia. High correlation between Japanese DW and GBD 2013 DW was observed, but there was considerable disagreement. Out of 226 comparable health states, 55 (24.3%) showed more than a factor-of-two difference, of which 41 (74.6%) had a higher value in Japanese DW. Many of the health states with higher DW in the Japan study were injuries, including amputation and fracture, and hearing and vision loss, while mental, behavioral, and substance use disorders generally tended to be lower.

We conducted a web-based survey in 2019 to estimate DWs for 231 health states for the Japanese population. The survey included five new health states but otherwise followed the method of the GBD DW measurement study. The survey consisted of 15 paired comparison (PC) questions and 3 population health equivalence questions (PHE) per respondent. We analyzed PC data using probit regression and rescaled results to DW units between 0 (equivalent to full health) and 1 (equivalent to death).

Disability weights (DWs) are weight factors that reflect the severity of health states for estimates of disability-adjusted life years. A new set of global DWs was published for the Global Burden of Diseases and Injuries (GBD) 2013 study, which relied on sampling from various world regions, but included little data for countries in East Asia. This study aimed to measure DWs in Japan using comparable methods, and compare the results with previous estimates from the GBD 2013 DW study.

This study has created an empirical basis for assessment of Japanese DWs of health status. The findings from this study based on the Japanese population suggest that there might be contextual differences in rating the severity of health states compared to previous surveys conducted elsewhere.

MIDAS Network Members