Measures of epidemiology (mortality, infant mortality, morbidity, life expectancy.


  1. Define the following terms


infant mortality


life expectancy


The use of epidemiology to improve health for all Australians

  1. Evaluate the effectiveness of using epidemiology to define the health status of a population.


  1. Why is the gathering of epidemiological information so important in improving the health of all Australians by considering such questions as:
    1. What information does epidemiology provide?


    1. What are the limitations of epidemiological information?


    1. What are the risks of using only epidemiological information to inform the allocation of funds for health care?


    1. What other considerations are important when deciding funding priorities for health?




Notes to help you with your answers



The number of deaths in a given population from a specific cause over a period of time.

infant mortality

The annual number of deaths in the first year of life, per 1000 live births.


The incidence of ill health in a population or group.

life expectancy

An indication of how long a person can expect to live from a given population. It is the number of years of life remaining to a person at a particular age if death rates do not change.


To evaluate use words like – necessary, important, essential, central and fundamental for positive and inadequate, limited, restricted, and insufficient for negative

      Epidemiology plays a vital role in accurately assessing the health of a given population.

      The data produced from epidemiology allows public health officials to identify and monitor existing and emerging health issues that exist within a population.

       The identification of priority health issues enables governments to allocate sufficient funding to meet the specific health care needs of the community.

       The health information generated through epidemiology is vital in enabling the development of effective health promotion strategies that target health inequities and increase health for all Australians.


      Epidemiology however does have some limitations with regards to identifying the health status of a population. ◦

      The primary focus on identifying disease and physical ill health does not identify factors or areas where Australias experience excellent health


      Epidemiology does not identify or explain how causal or contributing factors influence health statistics.

      Chronic health conditions may take years to develop before presenting and therefore may be unidentifiable amongst populations.

      Statistics gathered through epidemiology on the incidence of mental health often rely on individual reporting and therefore can be misleading.

      It is difficult to measure the quality of social health indicators amongst a population.

      Along with limited resources, the challenge to improve health for all Australians requires choices, priority setting and trade-offs between the health sector and other sectors.

       Significant decisions between focusing on prevention and treatment of chronic conditions and between improving health overall and reducing inequalities have implications for Australian health care services.

      Improving Australias health can lead to improved education and employment which, in turn, can result in economic and social prosperity.

       Epidemiology provides a good starting point for discussion to improve health status for all Australians. It can identify key indicators of illness and hard evidence about various health conditions. It can provide indicators of key groups at risk and trends in the prevalence of diseases.

      It can provide good information on death rates and changes over time. Such information is valuable in identifying priority health issues to ensure the appropriate allocation of funds and resources to improve the health for all Australians.