Revista Brasileira de Epidemiologia
Print version ISSN 1415-790X
ALMEIDA FILHO, Naomar de. The concept of health: blind-spot for epidemiology?. Rev. bras. epidemiol. [online]. 2000, vol.3, n.1-3, pp. 4-20. ISSN 1415-790X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1415-790X2000000100002.
In this paper, the author evaluates the proposition that the concept of Health is a blind-spot for epidemiologic science, arguing that there is no logical basis for a negative definition of Health, neither at the individual level nor at the collective level. He also briefly analyzes the attempts of producing an epidemiology of health symmetric to the epidemiology of risks, as well as the econometric approaches that reinforce and complement the epidemiologic repertoire for the measurement of health. Due to its growing importance in the definition of budgetary policies in health, the author focuses in more detail on the DALY approach, considered as a prototype of the new generation of health indicators. Finally, recognizing the failure of methodological proposals for a direct evaluation of levels of collective health through unified indicators, the author concludes with an evaluation of the current prospects for Epidemiology in order to integrate the complex object of Health in its theoretical and methodological agenda.
Keywords : Health concept; Epidemiology; Epidemiological theory; Health indicators; DALY; QALY.