Sciensano & Chronic disease

Last updated on 1-3-2019 by Daisy Tysmans

In its global call for action for the prevention and control of chronic diseases, the World Health Organisation urges countries to strengthen data collection and monitoring mechanisms for chronic diseases, with an initial focus on surveillance of major risk factors (smoking, alcohol, nutrition and physical activity). Sciensano contributes to this goal through the collection of new data, essentially through surveys, and the analysis and reporting of existing data. Interactive websites provide information on the occurrence (prevalence) of chronic diseases, on chronic disease risk factors and on mortality due to chronic diseases. Sciensano also contributes to an EU initiative aiming at the harmonisation of incidence (the newly diagnosed cases) and prevalence (the actual number of cases) data collection and analysis on chronic disease in all EU countries.

Monitoring | assess chronic diseases and related risk factors through health interview surveys (HIS)

Sciensano’s general population national health interview survey, is conducted every 3 to 5 years since 1997, and collects periodic statistics on all major chronic diseases and related risk factors (smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity and sedentary lifestyle, eating habits). The interactive website (HISIA) enables visitors to look at trends in the occurrence (prevalence) of chronic diseases and risk factors in Belgium in the past 20 years. The tool also allows for assessing differences in prevalence rates against a wide range of sociodemographic background characteristics, such as age, gender, education level, place of residence, …. Interviews are sometimes complemented with health examinations to obtain objective data about major risk factors for chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, obesity and overweight, high blood sugar or blood cholesterol levels.

Monitoring | organise food consumption surveys (FCS)

The food consumption survey (organised by our institute in 2004 and 2014) allows to gather detailed information on the nutritional habits of the population, including several indicators that are important in the development of chronic diseases.

Data analysis and reporting | mortality indicators for chronic diseases

Sciensano analyses the Belgian mortality registry to calculate and publish mortality indicators for all chronic diseases (and other diseases as well). These are made available via an interactive web tool that provides exhaustive and detailed information on mortality in Belgium, including mortality caused by chronic diseases. Data are available up to district level (“arrondissement”).

Research | harmonisation of data collection

At EU level Sciensano collaborates with Eurostat (the EU statistical office) to gather data in all EU member states on newly diagnosed cases (incidence) and the actual number of cases (prevalence) for a  shortlist of conditions, including all main chronic diseases. Data sources, data collection and analysis methods in all the EU countries are harmonised to provide the most reliable estimates of those indicators at the EU level.

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