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Traditionally, surveillance techniques have been used to track and monitor infectious diseases, those diseases that can be transmitted from person to person (Young, 2005).  However, since the burden of illness and death from chronic diseases is so high, there is a growing recognition of the importance of accurately and efficiently estimating the prevalence and incidence of chronic disease. 


Surveillance activities may help to inform the design of health policy around chronic disease treatment and prevention, and the evaluation of the effectiveness of programs designed to promote population-based health promotion and disease preventions.  Identification of risk groups may be especially important, as most chronic diseases are preventable (CDC, 2004).