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What Is an Exposure, What Is a Disease, and How Do We Measure Them? 

What Is an Exposure, What Is a Disease, and How Do We Measure Them?
What Is an Exposure, What Is a Disease, and How Do We Measure Them?

Katherine M. Keyes

and Sandro Galea

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date: 25 September 2020

This chapter presents step two: identify health exposures and indicators. It reviews how to conceptualize health status and ways to measure the health status of populations, how to define exposures and other factors influencing health, and principles in the measurement of these factors. Health indicators of interest include factors associated with disease, illness, or adverse health symptoms, as well as well-being and positive health outcomes. Health indicators are measured by their presence or absence, or as gradients. Exposures of interest are any variables that may influence health indicators and can be innate such as genetics or biological sex, acute one-time events, chronic environmental insults, or time-varying health behaviors such as smoking and diet. The chapter discusses valid and reliable measures for the success of epidemiologic studies for any exposure or specific health indicator. It reviews foundational concepts in construct definitions and standard tests of reliability and validity.

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