Measures of Epidemiology

Measures of Epidemiology2015-07-31T12:36:34+10:00

Epidemiology has many various aspects that it measures, but the key ones for determining health status are:

  • Infant mortality rate: The number of deaths among children aged under 1 year in a given period, per 1,000 live births in the same period. Australia’s infant mortality rate is on the decrease and currently sits at 3.78.
  • Morbidity: Refers to ill health in an individual and to levels of ill health in a population or group. In Australia our disability free years are increasing, meaning people are not just living longer; they are living longer without chronic diseases. The leading issues of morbidity in Australia are: increased rates of diabetes and dementia. While other types of disease and disability such as: cardiovascular disease, oral health, musculoskeletal, and mental health disorders are the most costly or have the highest burden.
  • Mortality: The leading causes of death in Australia are: Cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, Alzheimer’s and dementia, followed by lung cancer. Australia’s death rate is on the decline, currently 79 per 100,000. This is still high because of our growing and aging population.
  • Life expectancy: An indication of how long a person can expect to live, depending on the age they have already reached. Technically, it is the number of years of life remaining to a person at a particular age if death rates do not change. The most commonly used measure is life expectancy at birth.[1] In Australia life expectancy is on the rise with a boy born in 2012 having a life expectancy of 79.9 years, while a girl has 84.3 years.[2]

[1] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Glossary accessed at http://www.aihw.gov.au/australias-health/2014/glossary/ on 12/07/2015

[2] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Australia’s Health 2014 accessed at http://www.aihw.gov.au/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=60129548150 on 12/07/2015