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Original Article A study of epidemiologic transition in Korea
In Sook Lee, Joung Soon Kim
Epidemiol Health 1982;4(1):52-89
DOI: https://doi.org/
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Several changes have occured in patterns of health and disease during the process of national development; a process that is made up a complex network of social, economic, cultural, environmental, and health components. The pace, type and extent of these changes as well as of their determinants and consequences are described in terms of the theory of the epidemiologic transition by A.R.Omran. The theory of epidemiologic transition focuses on the complex changes in pattern of health and disease over time and the interactions between these patterns and their economic, demographic, and sociologic determinants. There can be little doubt that such a transition is still under way in less developed societies. Changes in patterns of disease and death that occur during the transition can be characterized as moving through three distinct phases: the Age of Pestilence and Famine, the Age of Receding Pandemics, and The Age of Degenerative and Man-Made Disease. Depending upon the pace of change and particulars of the transition in the modern era, three models of the epidemiologic transition can be delineated: the classical model, an accelerated model and the delayed model. This study was carried out in order to classify the Epidemiologic transitional period in Korea by analysing all available national statistics from the end of the Joseon Dynasty to the present. The result of the study summerized are as followings: 1. In social and economic profiles, the age of receding pandemics which is characterized by the early stage of industrialization and improved living standards as well as improved environmental stanitation fits into the period between 1940's and 1970's. This period may be devided into two periods, pre-war and post-war period at the boundary of 1955. 2. In demographic profiles, the age of receding pandemics coincided with the period (1940’s-1970’s), which is characterized by decreased mortality rate and progressively increasing population growth rate. 3. In Mortality & Diseases profiles, the age of receding pandemics also covers the same period, 1940’s-1970’s characterized by decreased mortality yet with occasional epidemics and famines. During the transition from infectious-disease to degenerative-disease predominance, the level of mortality for women that had been cosistantly higher than that of men was started to move to lower level. 4. In community health profiles, systemic health services were organized in 1955, however mordern nationwide comprehensive health programs were develoepd in 1977. 5. Epidemiologic transition in Korea took place with rapid industrialization, modernization, and urbanization accompanied by demographic changes as well as changes of disease patterns, the infectious diseases being replaced by the degenerative and mon-mode diseases in the causes of morbidity and mortality. The age of receding pandemics in this sense coincide the period between 1940’s and the middle of 1970's. The model of Korean epideniologic transition is certainly an accelerated model which took only 35 years or 40 years to accomplish the last age of the transition from the frist age.


Epidemiol Health : Epidemiology and Health