Any criterion that can be used to assess the health status of a person or specified group. Commonly used criteria include the presence or absence of symptoms (malaise, cough, breathlessness, pain, and a host of others); presence or absence of physical signs (fever, elevated pulse rate, blood pressure, etc.); or presence or absence of abnormal findings of radiological or laboratory tests. Some particular health status indicators exist, such as quality-of-life scales and sickness impact profiles. A popular survey instrument to measure health status is the SF36, a 36-item health questionnaire. At the level of communities, health status is assessed by such measures as incidence or prevalence of indicator diseases (diarrhea, malaria, etc., in low-income tropical countries; untreated hernia, refractive errors in upper-income countries); health care and obstetric coverage, etc. See also health indicator.
Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.