Alcohol, drug abuse, smoking (fires), product design, handgun availability
Influenza and pneumonia
Smoking, vaccination status
Motor vehicle crashes
Alcohol, no seat belts, speed, roadway design, vehicle engineering
Cirrhosis of the liver
Elevated serum cholesterol
Stress, alcohol and drug abuse, gun availability
SOURCE: Matarazzo, 1984. Reprinted with permission.
The Need for Surveillance
The changing demographic profile of the U.S. population and the associated patterns of disability risk demonstrate the necessity of continued surveillance of the incidence and prevalence of chronic physical and mental health conditions, injury, and disability. Some research indicates that the risk of disability has been increasing for all population age cohorts, although there is considerable debate about the reasons for this trend. There has also been a noticeable increase in work disability rates (Chirikos, 1989). In addition, the aging of the population may bring increased risks of disability.
Existing national data sets that track the prevalence of chronic conditions over time are useful for disability surveillance. The lack of data on incidence rates, however, is a serious void in disability surveillance and an impediment to fundamental understanding of the disabling process. Incidence data provide a measure of the rate at which a population develops a chronic