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Health Statistics

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Summary

Health statistics are numbers that summarize information related to health. Researchers and experts from government, private, and non-profit agencies and organizations collect health statistics. They use the statistics to learn about public health and health care. Some of the types of statistics include

  • How many people in the country have a disease or how many people got the disease within a certain period of time
  • How many people of a certain group have a disease. The groups could be based on location, race, ethnic group, sex, age, profession, income level, level of education. This can help identify health disparities.
  • Whether a treatment is safe and effective
  • How many people were born and died. These are known as vital statistics.
  • How many people have access to and use health care
  • The quality and efficiency of our health care system
  • Health care costs, including how much the government, employers, and individuals pay for health care. It could include how poor health can affect the country economically
  • The impact of government programs and policies on health
  • Risk factors for different diseases. An example would be how air pollution can raise your risk of lung diseases
  • Ways to lower risk for diseases, such as exercise and weight loss to lower the risk of getting type 2 diabetes

Numbers on a graph or in a chart may seem straightforward, but that's not always the case. It's important to be critical and consider the source. If needed, ask questions to help you understand the statistics and what they are showing.

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Older Adults