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Assessing and Forecasting Population Health: Integrating Knowledge and Beliefs in a Comprehensive Framework (Public Health Reports)

December 1, 2009

Journal Article

Authors: Jeroen Van Meiguard, Jonathan E. Fielding, Gerald F. Kominski, Ph.D.

A comprehensive population health-forecasting model has the potential to interject new and valuable information about the future health status of the population based on current conditions, socioeconomic and demographic trends and potential changes in policies and programs. The authors' Health Forecasting Model uses a continuous-time microsimulation framework to simulate individuals' lifetime histories by using birth, risk exposures, disease incidence and death rates to mark changes in the state of the individual. The model generates a reference forecast of future health in California, including details on physical activity, obesity, coronary heart disease, all-cause mortality and medical expenditures. The authors use the model to answer specific research questions, inform debate on important policy issues in public health, support community advocacy and provide analysis on the long-term impact of proposed changes in policies and programs, thus informing stakeholders at all levels and supporting decisions that can improve the health of populations.

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