risk factor


Definition of risk factor

: something that increases risk or susceptibility

Examples of risk factor in a Sentence

Age is one of the risk factors for this disease.
Recent Examples on the Web While some adults no doubt suffer from more than one risk factor, the total number with at least one is likely to be 100 million or more. Mark Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The young die too from COVID-19, even as many engage in denial," 25 Nov. 2020 Livingston Parish has a 22% risk factor for a 10-person gathering, 31% for 15 people and 46% for 25 people. Anna Jones, NOLA.com, "Here's the coronavirus risk for a Thanksgiving event in your parish," 19 Nov. 2020 Thus, cumulative chemical exposures may be a significant risk factor for diabetes. Alexander Suvorov, The Conversation, "Exposure to man-made chemicals influences genes controlling aging, immune system and metabolism," 15 Oct. 2020 New Haven Public Health Director Maritza Bond said that as of Oct. 9, New Haven County had an average of about five new daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents, indicting a low-risk factor, according to state guidelines. Amanda Blanco, courant.com, "New Haven schools, after beginning year entirely online, will offer limited in-person classes beginning Nov. 9," 14 Oct. 2020 The rapid increase in U.S. federal debt is one risk factor. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "The biggest economic threat facing the next administration: A weak dollar," 11 Oct. 2020 Age remains a significant risk factor for severe COVID-19 illness, with people 70 and older making up more than 80% of the state’s deaths. Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune, "3 COVID-19 deaths, 982 infections reported Monday in Minnesota," 5 Oct. 2020 Weight stigma is a significant risk factor for depression, low self-esteem, and overall body dissatisfaction, which can lead to eating disorders, according to NEDA. Taylyn Washington-harmon, Health.com, "It’s Weight Stigma Awareness Week, and These 5 Women Are Trying to End Weight Hate," 1 Oct. 2020 Age is the greatest risk factor for developing cancer, about 60% of people who have cancer are older than 65. Jen Christensen, CNN, "Coronavirus pandemic could impact cancer rates and care in the future," 25 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'risk factor.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of risk factor

1949, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for risk factor

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The first known use of risk factor was in 1949

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Statistics for risk factor

Last Updated

29 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Risk factor.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/risk%20factor. Accessed 5 Dec. 2020.

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More Definitions for risk factor

risk factor


English Language Learners Definition of risk factor

: something that increases risk especially : something that makes a person more likely to get a particular disease or condition

risk factor


Medical Definition of risk factor

: something that increases risk or susceptibility poorly controlled hypertension is a risk factor for coronary heart disease

More from Merriam-Webster on risk factor

Britannica English: Translation of risk factor for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about risk factor

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