A cross-sectional study examines the relationship between disease (or other health related state) and other variables of interest as they exist in a defined population at a single point in time or over a short period of time (e.g. calendar year). Cross-sectional studies can be thought of as providing a snapshot of the frequency of a disease or other health related characteristics (e.g. exposure variables) in a population at a given point in time. Cross-sectional studies are used to assess the burden of disease or health needs of a population and are particularly useful in informing the planning and allocation of health resources.
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