J Prev Med Public Health.  2019 Jan;52(1):14-20. 10.3961/jpmph.18.250.

Health Indicators Related to Disease, Death, and Reproduction

  • 1Department of Preventive Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. suepark@snu.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Biomedical Science, Seoul National University Graduate School, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Cancer Research Institute, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.
  • 4Department of Cancer Control and Population Health, Graduate School of Cancer Science and Policy, National Cancer Center, Goyang, Korea.
  • 5Department of Preventive Medicine, Dankook University College of Medicine, Cheonan, Korea.
  • 6Department of Preventive Medicine, Hanyang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 7Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.
  • 8Department of Preventive Medicine, Kyung Hee University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 9Department of Preventive Medicine, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 10Department of Preventive Medicine, Wonkang University School of Medicine, Iksan, Korea.
  • 11Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Chungnam National University School of Medicine, Daejeon, Korea.
  • 12Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Suwon, Korea.
  • 13Department of Preventive Medicine, Daegu Catholic University School of Medicine, Daegu, Korea.


One of the primary goals of epidemiology is to quantify various aspects of a population's health, illness, and death status and the determinants (or risk factors) thereof by calculating health indicators that measure the magnitudes of various conditions. There has been some confusion regarding health indicators, with discrepancies in usage among organizations such as the World Health Organization the, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the CDC of other countries, and the usage of the relevant terminology may vary across papers. Therefore, in this review, we would like to propose appropriate terminological definitions for health indicators based on the most commonly used meanings and/or the terms used by official agencies, in order to bring clarity to this area of confusion. We have used appropriate examples to make each health indicator easy for the reader to understand. We have included practical exercises for some health indicators to help readers understand the underlying concepts.


Epidemiology; Health indicators; Terminology; Concept
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