In epidemiology, a risk factor or determinant is a variable associated with an increased risk of disease or infection.: 38 Determinant is often used as a synonym, due to a lack of harmonization across disciplines, in its more widely accepted scientific meaning. Determinant, specific to community health policy, is a health risk that is general, abstract, pertains to inequalities and is difficult for an individual to control. For example, low ingestion of dietary sources of vitamin C is a known risk factor for developing scurvy. Poverty, in the discipline of health policy, is a determinant of an individual's standard of health. The main difference lies in the realm of practice, clinical practice versus public health.
This article needs attention from an expert in medicine. The specific problem is: defining, "determinant," a complicated, poorly harmonized concept in medicine. Some sources use the term loosely while others use it as a technical term.. (July 2019)