Age-adjusted: Age-adjusting is a way to make fairer comparisons between groups with different age distributions. For example, a county with a higher percentage of older people may have a higher rate of death or hospitalization. Age-adjustment can make the different groups more comparable.
Aggregated: In public health we can aggregate (combine) information prior to making data available. For example, annual hospitalization data are presented as a total instead of individual hospitalizations. Aggregation provides the information needed for decision making while protecting the confidential information in the data source.
Chronic condition (disease): A chronic condition (disease) is a condition lasting three or more months (defined by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics).
Confidential data: In public health, confidential data are not reported publicly to protect personal and/or health information of individuals. Even in de-identified and aggregate data, an individual could be identified if data included too many demographics for a small geographic area. Therefore, measures are taken to ensure the protection of an individual’s privacy and confidentiality.
De-identified: De-identification is a process used to prevent a person’s identity from being linked to other information, such as having a chronic condition. Common methods for de-identifying data are to remove name, date of birth, ZIP code, personal identifiers and other information from a data set.
Denominator: The lower part of a fraction used for calculating a rate or ratio. In practice, a denominator in public health is the population from which the numerator was drawn. For example, when looking at the rate of Oregon adults with diabetes, the numerator is the number of people with diabetes and the denominator is the full adult population of Oregon.
Demographics: Characteristics of a population used in statistics. Examples include age, sex, education level, income and marital status.
Incidence: The number of new cases in a given population at risk in a given time frame.
Number of events: The estimated count of events (such as hospitalization) among a specific group of people with defined demographic or other characteristics.
Number of people affected (at risk): Also called “the number of people” or “number of adults”. This measures the estimated number of people with a condition, risk factor or other health-related status of interest.
Numerator: The upper part of a fraction used for calculating a rate or ratio. In practice, a numerator in public health is the population who have developed a condition or behavior of interest, such as heart disease or alcohol use.
Prevalence: The proportion of cases, both existing and new, in the population at risk during a point in time. An example of prevalence is the percent of the population who had a chronic condition in 2018.
Protective factor: Protective factors are any characteristics or exposures that decrease the likelihood of developing a chronic condition. Protective factors include physical activity, healthy eating, health screenings, etc.
Rate: A rate is a measure of the frequency an event occurs in a defined population. For example, number of deaths per 100,000 Oregonians in one year. A rate usually has a time frame.
Risk factor: A characteristic or exposure that increases the likelihood of developing a chronic condition. Examples include smoking, lacking health insurance or having pre-diabetes.
Unadjusted: Unadjusted, also called crude, estimates are those that are not adjusted for the characteristics of a population. Unadjusted estimates represent the burden of a condition in a given time period for a given population. Unadjusted estimates are not recommended for comparisons across groups.