Epidemiology: An introduction
Epidemiology: An introduction

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Epidemiology: An introduction

2.2.2 Persons: which groups in the population have health problems?

In order to discover the patterns of disease distribution, data is needed on the personal characteristics of the population: the age groups, proportions of men and women, and occupational groups. Other population variables that are important are the social circumstances and conditions in which people live, as well as their religion, culture and ethnic origin. This is important since there are associations between these variables and the health status of individuals.

Thinking point: Look at Figure 8 which illustrates the prevalence of hazardous drinking by age and sex. Which age groups do you think are most at risk?

You will see that, for women, the greatest prevalence is between 16 and 19, after which it declines steadily. For men, it peaks around 20–24, but has always been higher than for women. However, women are at particular risk because physiologically they are less tolerant of alcohol than men.

Figure 8 Prevalence of hazardous drinking by age and sex, UK, 2000 (Source: Singleton et al., 2001, p. 28, Figure 2.6)

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