- An aspect of personal behavior or lifestyle, environmental exposure, or inborn or inherited characteristic, which, on the basis of epidemiologic evidence, is known to be associated with a health-related condition considered important to prevent.
Definition from: MeSH via Unified Medical Language System at the National Library of Medicine
- Something which increases risk or susceptibility <a fatty diet is a risk factor for heart disease>.
Definition from: Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary by Merriam-Webster Inc.
- Something that may increase the chance of developing a disease. Some examples of risk factors for cancer include age, a family history of certain cancers, use of tobacco products, certain eating habits, obesity, lack of exercise, exposure to radiation or other cancer-causing agents, and certain genetic changes.
National Cancer Institute
Related discussion in the Handbook
See also Understanding Medical Terminology.