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U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

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National Information Center on Health Services Research and Health Care Technology (NICHSR)

Morbidity and Mortality
Morbidity statistics report on the conditions that limit health, mortality statistics report on those that lead to death.

In this exercise, you are asked to compare the picture of the impact of disease on health from the perspective of those causing morbidity and those leading to mortality.

  1. Visit the NCHS website and find the list of the leading causes of death. [Hint: start with the NVSS website listed above.]
  2. Compare this to the charts of leading causes featured on the website of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. [ // ]
  3. Next examine the incidence of diseases and conditions leading to activity limitations from the National Health Interview Survey data.
  4. Search Health, United States for tables that will help you understand the differences.
  1. What are the main differences between conditions that lead to rest to reduced health status [morbidity] and conditions that lead to death [mortality]?
  2. How do these differences vary with age, income, gender and life style?
  3. What would be the effect on our understanding of health if we relied on mortality or morbidity statistics alone.
Further reading to support this exercise
The world burden of disease—harvard study [add citation]
Add pubmed citations here ….