Encyclopedia of Public Health

2008 Edition
| Editors: Wilhelm Kirch

Risk Factor

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-5614-7_3038

Synonyms

Determinant of disease

Definition

A risk factor is an aspect of behavior or life-style , such as an habitual pattern of diet, exercise, cigarette and alcohol use, etc., or a biological characteristic, an inborn or inherited characteristic, or a health-related condition or environmental exposure with predictable effects on the risk of disease due to a specific cause, including in particular an increased likelihood of an unfavorable outcome. Another meaning of this term is that a risk factor is a determinant of disease that can be modified by specific actions, behaviors, or treatment regiments. Risk factors can be categorized as genetic, physiological, behavioral and socioeconomic characteristics of individuals that place them in a cohort of the population that is more likely to develop a particular health problem or disease than the rest of the population. Usually applied to...

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008