Health Statistics

Health Statistics

Health statistics are important in monitoring the health of entire populations. This helps to identify any worrying trends in public health, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Let's take a closer look at global and UK health statistics. Health statistics refer to the science of collecting, summarising, interpreting data on health and disease in populations. This information can be gathered by researchers, health professionals, non-profit agencies, and the government. They can use active or passive surveillance to collect data on human health and disease in populations to learn more about health in populations and the quality of health services. Active surveillance involves a member of the health protection teams contacting healthcare providers to obtain information about certain conditions. Passive surveillance involves designated bodies receiving reports of infectious diseases or illnesses submitted from hospitals, GP surgeries, and public health units. The data collected can inform evidence-based policymaking. For example, the local government can use data on the number of smokers in a town to justify starting a public anti-smoking campaign in the local area. Health statistics are essential for ensuring optimal health and disease monitoring.

Epidemiology and Health Statistics

Epidemiology is a scientific study that looks at the occurrence, spread, and control of diseases and risk factors in populations. Epidemiologists collect relevant health information to understand and analyze the frequency and spread of diseases, which helps them to create strategies for future health management. To patient health and social care professionals must make patient information anonymous before collecting it. Researchers can access and process anonymized health information without patient consent under the Health and Social Care Act 2001. Three indicators provide crucial information in epidemiology: incidence, prevalence, and mortality. Incidence measures the number of new disease cases within a given timeframe, prevalence measures the number of people with the disease in a population, and mortality measures the number of people who have died from the disease.

Endemic vs Epidemic vs Pandemic

The spread and prevalence of a disease can be classified into three primary categories:

Endemic disease Epidemic disease Pandemic disease

An endemic disease is a disease outbreak that is consistently present but contained within a specific country or region. Malaria is an example of an endemic disease that is prevalent in some African countries. Malaria is transmitted through mosquitoes and can be fatal if left untreated. However, access to antimalarial medications and vaccinations in Africa has increased over the last two decades, leading to a decrease in the number of cases.

In contrast, an epidemic is a disease outbreak that spreads quickly within a population over a short time. Obesity rates in Western countries, like the USA, are considered an epidemic because it affects a large population and can lead to various diseases.

A pandemic is a disease outbreak that rapidly spreads to other countries and potentially worldwide. The coronavirus outbreak in late 2019 is an example of a pandemic. COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus that was initially reported and transmitted in China. It quickly spread across Asia and to the rest of the world, causing millions of deaths. However, effective vaccines were developed and administered to the public in late 2020, which significantly reduced the spread and severity of COVID-.

Learn more about vaccines and their issues Vaccines article.

Types of Health Statistics

Designated public health organizations are responsible for collecting health statistics data related to specific conditions or illnesses. This data can be interpreted at the country level or compiled globally to compare statistics from different countries. The information gathered from this data can be used to understand the prevalence of a particular condition, identify risk factors, and develop appropriate strategies for prevention and treatment. By comparing statistics from different countries, health organizations can also identify patterns and trends in the spread of diseases and illnesses, which can inform global health policies and initiatives. Overall, the collection and analysis of health statistics data play a crucial role in improving public health outcomes and reducing the burden of disease worldwide

UK Health Statistics

The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) is a sub-organization of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) in the UK government that publishes statistics on various health issues, including mental health. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the prevalence of moderate and severe depression among adults in Great Britain rose from 10% in March 2020 to 21% by January to March 2021, likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, by August 2021, the figure had improved slightly, with 17% of adults reporting moderate or severe depressive symptoms.

Additionally, a separate survey study found that the proportion of children aged between 6 and 16 with possible mental disorders had risen from 11.6% in 2017 to 17.4% in 2021. These figures highlight the significant impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the psychosocial well-being of both adults and children in the UK. It is important for public health organizations to continue monitoring and addressing the mental health needs of the population, particularly in the wake of the pandemic.

World Health Statistics

The World Health Organization (WHO) is an inter-governmental organization that collects health statistics and data globally to plan and implement strategies to combat health issues on a global scale. For example, the WHO may provide free vaccinations to urgently requiring regions based on the data collected. One example of health statistics collected by the WHO is the number of people reported to have cardiovascular disease.

Data collected by the WHO indicates that infectious diseases are the major cause of developing countries. In contrast, developed countries have lower deaths from infectious diseases. Reasons for this difference include poor access to basic medication, poor vaccine rollouts, poor standards of hygiene and nutrition, and lack of public health education in developing countries.

Another example of health statistics collected by the WHO is the rate of deaths due to cardiovascular disease per country. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in developed countries, while deaths from cardiovascular disease in developing countries are much lower. This is due to lifestyle differences, such as higher fat and salt intake, higher incidence of obesity, and higher rates of tobacco smoking in developed countries. In contrast, many individuals in developing countries are subsistence farmers, and a large portion of their diet consists of vegetables and fruits.

Health Statistics - Key Takeaways Health statistics is the science of collecting, summarising and interpreting data on health and disease in populations.  The terms endemic, epidemic, and pandemic describe the geographical spread of a disease outbreak. Data has demonstrated that developing countries have higher levels of infectious diseases compared to developed countries. Developed countries have higher levels of disease caused by lifestyle choices, such as cardiovascular diseases.

Health Statistics

What is health statistics and its uses? 

Health statistics is the science of collecting, summarising and interpreting data on health and disease in populations.  Data on human health and disease in populations can be collected by researchers, health professionals, non-profit agencies and the government to learn more about health in populations and health services. 

What are health statistics called? 

Health statistics can also be referred to as epidemiology.

What is the importance of health statistics? 

Collecting health data can help researchers and the government gain a detailed understanding of the health of a population and can therefore provide the required health services in areas where it is required.

Where can I find health statistics? 

Many different organisations and governmental bodies collect health statistics. Your local health agency likely collects local data in your area. The World Health Organisation (WHO) collects global data on health and disease.

 What is the biggest problem in the UK? 

Heart disease, stroke, cancer, lung and liver diseases are the major diseases affecting the UK population.

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