Why It's Important
Analysis of public health data by demographic characteristics is essential to the reduction and elimination of health disparities. The Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and Education Act of 2000 describes health disparities as differences in "the overall rate of disease incidence, prevalence, morbidity, mortality, or survival rates in the population as compared to the health status of the general population." The definition can be applied to any demographic group, not just racial/ethnic minorities.
Analysis by demographic characteristics also shows at what age certain diseases and conditions typically affect persons as well as how life events, choices, and circumstances (e.g., marriage, military service, and educational attainment) affect health outcomes.