Causation and Correlation in the Healthcare Essay

Causation and Correlation in the Healthcare Essay

Discuss examples of Causation vs Correlation in the Healthcare field. Watch the following video for more information related to Causation vs Correlation. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.


Correlation and causality (n.d.). Khan Academy. Retrieved 13 April 2016 from (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.



Correlation is a measure in statistics which is often expressed as a number which gives a description of the direction and size of a relationship that exists between two or more variables. However, the correlation that exists between variables does not guarantee that a change in a single variable is automatically the cause of change in the values of other variables. On the other hand, causation is a measure which reveals that a single event result to the occurrence of another (Kenny, 1999) Causation and Correlation in the Healthcare Essay.


While Correlation helps in the identification of the extent to which variables relates, causation enables further analysis in establishing whether, in this relation, a single action causes another (Kenny, 1999).

Examples in the Healthcare Field

Instituting causal relationships in the healthcare field has become an essential aspect in knowing disease etiology that provides the ability to outline effective treatments that can lead to a reduction in the burden of diseases.

Example 1

A reduction in dietary cholesterol reduces the risk of Cardiovascular Diseases.

According to a study review conducted in Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials in 2011. Trials obtained from a study with 65,508 participants revealed that a reduction in saturated fat by reducing dietary cholesterol reduced cardiovascular disease risk by 14% (Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, 2011).

The above study implies correlation such that, a decrease in saturated fat can be also be related to a decrease in dietary cholesterol Causation and Correlation in the Healthcare Essay. The implication, in this case, is that reducing saturated fat leads to a reduction in dietary cholesterol which directly relates to a reduction in risk of cardiovascular disease. Since this study shows correlation, it can be concluded that dietary cholesterol correlates with cardiovascular and vice versa.

Example 2

Long-term tobacco smoking increases Lung Cancer.

A case-control study in adults above 55 years conducted in different parts of New Zealand between 2001 and 2005 and published in PubMed revealed a relationship between tobacco smoking and lung cancer in young adults. For every joint-year of exposure to tobacco smoking, the risk of lung cancer approximately increased by 8% (Respir, 2008).

This case study implies how tobacco smoking causes lung cancer. In addition, the statement reveals the relationship that exists between long-term tobacco smoking and lung cancer. It can also be noted that, while tobacco smoking has a causal relationship with lung cancer, a correlation exists between long-term tobacco smoking, lung cancers and vice versa. Causation and Correlation in the Healthcare Essay.



Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (2011) Reduced or modified Dietary fat for preventing cardiovascular disease Available at accessed on 24/10/20xx

Kenny, D. A. (1999) Correlation and causality New York: J. Wiley.Bottom of Form

Respir E., (2008) Cannabis Use and Risk of Lung Cancer Available at Causation and Correlation in the Healthcare Essay



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