The disparity in health across nations is dramatic, as depicted in Table 1 by a 50-year range in life expectancy at birth. Quality of life is also widely varied across nations. What causes these substantial differences in life length and quality? Economic status is a major factor, leading to nutritionand environment-related risks, injuries, high-risk behaviors, and inadequate health care. These underlying factors cause the infectious diseases, childbirth complications, trauma, and chronic diseases that ravage some developing countries.

Familiarity with the measurements underlying the summary health profiles of each country is essential to understanding the epidemiology of developing countries. Additionally, study methodologies vary worldwide according to the respective needs and cultures, but they are largely limited by the lack of resources in these countries. Also, it is ...

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