World health report

Executive summary

Measuring health

In view of major limitations imposed by the lack of suitable measurements that can capture the meaning of health as defined in the WHO Constitution, the assessment of health trends given in the report uses conventional indicators such as life expectancy, mortality and morbidity. Efforts are under way, however, to develop indicators of positive health such as health expectancy and its variants, but problems of standardization of definitions and comparability of values derived inhibit their usage for trend assessment at this stage.