(1) A scientific process which attempts to link the effects of factors such as lifestyle (for example, level of smoking or drinking) or exposure to toxic chemicals to disease and, if relevant, mortality. Statistical correlations are developed whose purpose is ultimately to indicate the degree of risk that someone with a particular exposure pattern, lifestyle or genetic profile has of contracting a specific disease.
(2) The study of the relationships of the various factors determining the frequency and distribution of diseases in a human community.
The field of medicine that attempts to determine the exact causes of localized outbreaks of disease. — epidemiologist, n. — epidemiologie, epidemiological, adj.