Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: November 27, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412953948 | Print ISBN: 9781412928168 | Online ISBN: 9781412953948 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The attributable fraction is one of a class of measures used by epidemiologists to quantify the impact of an exposure or intervention on the occurrence of a disease or other outcome events in a population. These measures can be used, for example, to examine the impact of obesity on disease risk and the potential or expected impact of weight-reduction programs on disease rates. The origin of this concept is a measure proposed by a cancer epidemiologist, Morton Levin, in 1953. In describing the association between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, Levin (1953) offers the following definition of the new measure: The third index (S) is the … maximum proportion of lung cancer attributable to smoking. This index is based on the assumption that smokers, if they had not become smokers, would have had the same incidence of lung cancer as that found among non-smokers. (p. 536) Although Levin did not ...