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13. Direct health loss calculations for a single individual

In general the directly attributable health loss approach to risk-benefit assessment is intended for application to a population or subpopulation comprising many individuals, and the result is an estimate of the total annual impact for that population.

It is also possible to apply Equations (1)-(4) for a single individual, carrying out the calculation only once for a single age CA and setting I sf = 1. When this is done, the output should be interpreted as the average annual net health for individuals of the type represented by the modelled individual (e.g. with the same age, gender, life expectancy, etc.). However, it must be remembered that the result is specific for individuals of that age and type, and that net health impacts for other ages and types of individuals will generally be different. In special cases, calculations for single individuals may be interpretable if all the health effects of the dietary change are thought to have the same age profile, e.g. if the diseases that increase or decrease all occur in the same age range. If the age profiles of the diseases differ, then conducting calculations for a range of ages may help to build a picture of how the net health impact varies with age. Usually, it will be preferable to carry out calculations for a representative sample of individuals covering all ages of interest (e.g. as done by Hoekstra et al., 2008). Nevertheless, calculations for single individuals may be helpful when developing the assessment to explore the consequences of different assumptions or data, and to help the user understand the operation of the model.