Aging, Epidemiology of
Robert B. Wallace
The epidemiologic study of older people in the community has been pursued for many years. Although there is probably nothing unique about the application of epidemiologic methods to older populations, there are many important differences and special issues that merit separate consideration. Vital records, census counts, and demographic studies have documented the increased longevity of populations in nearly all developed countries over the past half century and the growth of the numbers of older persons. The increase in older populations has led to new opportunities for more detailed exploration of health and disease occurrence, risk factors for morbidity and mortality, and health outcomes. The growth in numbers of older persons has also caused a public health mandate for improved surveillance and control of important conditions in those populations, both in the community and in institutional settings. This entry examines differences between epidemiologic studies of older adults compared with other age ...