Cross-sectional study

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In epidemiology, cross-sectional studies are "studies in which the presence or absence of disease or other health-related variables are determined in each member of the study population or in a representative sample at one particular time. This contrasts with longitudinal studies which are followed over a period of time."[1]

Cross sectional studies are relatively easy to execute because there is no need to wait for a health outcome to occur or estimate levels of exposure to risk factors in the past. Their main disadvantage is that a specific cause can't be easily inferred, because only current health and exposure are being studied. [2]


  1. Anonymous (2023), Cross-sectional study (English). Medical Subject Headings. U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  2. Case-control and cross sectional studies Coggon, D., Rose, G., Barker, DJP (1997). Epidemiology for the uninitiated (4th edition) BMJ Publishing Group)