Health indicators are quantifiable characteristics of a population which researchers use as supporting evidence for describing the health of a population. Typically, researchers will use a survey methodology to gather information about certain people, use statistics in an attempt to generalize the information collected to the entire population, and then use the statistical analysis to make a statement about the health of the population.
Health indicators are often used by governments to guide health care policy.
- 1 Example
- 2 Applications
- 3 Characteristics
- 4 List of health indicators
- 5 Organizations
- 6 References
- 7 External links
A common example of a health indicator is life expectancy. A government might have a system for collecting information on each citizen's age at the time of death. This data about age at death can be used to support statements about the national life expectancy, in which case life expectancy would be a "health indicator". Life expectancy may be one of many "health indicators" which collectively researchers would use to describe the health of the population of the country.
A health indicator which will be used internationally to describe global health should have the following characteristics:
- It should be defined in such a way that it can be measured uniformly internationally.
- It must have statistical validity.
- The indicator must be data which can feasibly be collected.
- The analysis of the data must result in a recommendation on which people can make changes to improve health
List of health indicators
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Health indicators are required in order to measure the health status of people and communities.
- Crude death rate
- Life expectancy
- Infant mortality rate
- Maternal mortality rate
- Proportional mortality rate
Incidence counts of any of the following in a population may be health indicators:
- Disability adjusted life years (DALY)
- Others: Activities of daily living (ADL), Musculoskeletal disability (MSD) score etc.
- Proportion of low birth weight
- Prevalence of anaemia
- Proportion of overweight individuals
- Prevalence of underweight among under-fives
- Prevalence of stunting among under-fives
- Prevalence of acute malnutrition among under-fives
Social and mental health indicators
- Alcohol related indicators
- Injury rates
Health system indicators
- Healthcare delivery related
- Health policy indicators
Various organizations exist to identify, collect, measure, share, analyze, and publish on the topic of health indicators. Here are some example organizations doing this:
- Flowers, J.; Hall, P.; Pencheon, D. (2005). "Mini-symposium — Public Health Observatories". Public Health. 119 (4): 239–245. doi:10.1016/j.puhe.2005.01.003. PMID 15733682.
- Larson, C.; Mercer, A. (2004). "Global health indicators: An overview". Canadian Medical Association Journal. 171 (10): 1199–1200. doi:10.1503/cmaj.1021409. PMC 524951. PMID 15534313.
- List items adapted from Statistics Canada (December 2000). "Statistics Canada: Health Indicators - Overview". statcan.gc.ca. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
- World Health Statistics 2012 Indicator compendium created by the World Health Organization
- World Health Statistics 2012 Global Health Indicators
- Health Indicators
- list of health indicators created by the European Commission
- HealthyPeople.gov created by the United States Department of Health and Human Services
- Community Health Status Indicators, a project of the Centers for Disease Control
- Canada, a project of Statistics Canada
- HealthIndicators.gov, a database of US health indicators