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Informe Epidemiológico do Sus

versão impressa ISSN 0104-1673


MERCHAN-HAMANN, Edgar; TAUIL, Pedro Luiz  e  COSTA, Marisa Pacini. Terminology of measurement and indicators in epidemiology: an aid for a future standardization of nomenclature. Inf. Epidemiol. Sus [online]. 2000, vol.9, n.4, pp.276-284. ISSN 0104-1673.

Misuse of terms is due to the mixture of matters and professional fields within the epidemiologic research realm. This article aims to stimulate reflection on the meaning of terms for a better and more rational use in epidemiology. Indicator: this is the widest term and includes any measurement or classifiable observation used for "revealing" a situation that is not evident by itself. Index: a measurement that integrates multiple dimensions. Proportion Measurements: elements in the numerator are included within the denominator: "Coeficientes": this word (in spanish and portuguese) is related to specific types of proportions intended to measure: (1) prevalence (proportion that in any given moment of time, includes the event ofinterest with respect to the total investigated) and (2) cumulative incidence (proportion of individuais that eventually develop the event of interest during a period of time, changing their status). Denominator represents people at risk. Rate Measurements: use is being restricted for occurrence of incident events in relation to persontime. Ratio Measurements: relation between two magnitudes of the same dimension or nature (and measurement unit) in which the numerator and denominator belong to mutually exclusive categories. Odds: this type of ratio is a relationship between two complementary and opposed probabilities. Examples are provided and other considerations are made on special indicators as maternal and infant mortality.

Palavras-chave : Epidemiology; Indicators; Measurements; Terminology.

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