Measuring Health Status

Measuring Health Status

Role of Epidemiology:

  • Epidemiology is a scientific field and cornerstone of public health.
  • In a simple sense, Epidemiology is a data driven approach of studying and analysing the incidence, prevalence, distribution (who, when and where) and significant and non-significant determinants of various health-related states or events in a sample or population.
  • Through analysing patterns, census and statistics, outcomes of epidemiological studies help healthcare facilities and authorities identify risk factors of various diseases, take preventive measures and implement policies to put a stopper on emerging public health issues.

Measures of Epidemiology:

The common indicators of public health with respect to a community, sample or population are:


  • Mortality rate, or death rate is the measure of deaths in a particular population, owing to natural causes or any specific health issue.
  • The mortality rate for a population is generally expressed in units of deaths per 1,000 individuals in one year.

Infant Mortality:

  • Infant mortality rate (IMR) is calculated based on the deaths of infants (aged < 1) per 1000 live births.
  • Infant Mortality rate has decreased substantially owing to reasons like:
    • Accessible healthcare facilities
    • Awareness of parents regarding vaccines
    • General health and hygiene awareness
    • Improved clinical diagnostic methods
    • Dynamic therapeutic measures


  • Morbidity in a general sense is an aberrant state of health.
  • When a person is said to be “morbid”, he/she has a condition or illness that caused that person’s health to become impaired or compromised.
  • The term morbidity is often used to refer to the prevalence of chronic disease(s) which can have severe manifestations over time impacting an individual’s quality of life.
  • Major causes of morbidity include:
    • Smoking
    • Diet
    • Alcohol consumption
    • Drug abuse
    • Obesity
    • Sedentary lifestyle
    • Genetics
    • Environment

Life Expectancy:

  • The statistical measure that indicates the average length of time an individual is expected to live.
  • For example, in 2019, the life expectancy of Australians was found to be 83.35 years, a 0.18% increase from 2018.

Extract from Business Studies Stage 6 Syllabus. © 2010 Board of Studies NSW.