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The epidemiological concept of population 

The epidemiological concept of population
Chapter:
The epidemiological concept of population
Author(s):

Raj S. Bhopal

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198739685.003.0002
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date: 21 October 2020

Epidemiology is a population science in several senses. First, it studies populations’ disease patterns, which are hugely influenced by the interaction of individuals living in communities. Secondly, it depends heavily upon demographic population data to achieve its goals. Thirdly, its findings are drawn from, and applied to, groups (or populations) of people. One critical yet that the causes of disease in individuals is not synonymous with the causes of disease in populations. This has implications for epidemiology and its application to public health. Populations are dynamic, changing in age structure, ethnic composition, and behaviours. Epidemiology needs to work within the context of demographic and epidemiological transitions as societies change. One prime purpose of epidemiology is applying findings in health promotion, health care, and health policy to improve the health of populations. The focus on population in epidemiology distinguishes it from other medical sciences.

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