PUBLICHEALTH NURSING RESEARCH PAPER
Today’s society is characterized by different health issues thatare affecting many people. The problems are of varying intensityacross the world. For instance, Africa is fighting malaria and HIVinfection while America is dealing with public health issues such asobesity and overweight among its population. The governments of thevarious countries have partnered with both international and nationalbodies with the aim of developing and implementing strategies thataddress the identified problems and protecting the human life. Thepaper seeks to investigate diabetes as a health issue that isaffecting the adults within the American population. The analysisshall focus on both the adults as the target population and thehealth problem to determine their relationship and the strategiesundertaken to curb the disease.
According to the Central Intelligence Agency, (2015), the Americanpopulation consists of 321, 368, 864 people. The National Diabetesreport on the disease statistics states that at least 9.3% of theAmerican population has diabetes with about 28.9million adults beendiagnosed and 12.3 million who are undiagnosed (CDC, 2014). The abovefigures suggest that a high population of American citizens isaffected by the disease, which makes it a health issue as it poses asa burden to the country. It is argued that adults above 20years arethe most affected people. The US is known to consist of individualsof varying racial and ethnic differences. An analysis of the adultsabove 20 years who are diagnosed with diabetes across the ethnicgroups shows that the Non-Hispanic whites comprise of 7.6%, AsianAmericans – 9.0%, Hispanics, 12.8%, Non-Hispanic blacks, 13.2% andthe American Indians, 15.9% (CDC, 2014). The data implies that theAmerican Indians are the most affected with diabetes in the country.
Research indicates that the adult population in America is affectedby various social, cultural, and behavioral factors that increasetheir risk of suffering from diabetes. The social factors include thelifestyle that the adult population is leading. Most adults areengaged in demanding jobs while others are juggling between severaloccupattions in an attempt to raise the income needed to meet theirexpenses. Such lifestyles hinder them from engaging in physicalactivities such as sports and healthy feeding habits that reducetheir risk to contracting the disease. The cultural factors affectingthe adult population include the different values and beliefs amongthe racial groups in the country. For example, the feeding habitsamong the Hispanics consisted of a balanced diet that reduced theirrisk to contracting chronic diseases. However, due to acculturation,the Hispanic diets changed to unbalanced diets which made them moreprone to suffering from diabetes. The behavioral factors includepracticing unhealthy behaviors such as smoking cigarettes and limitedaccess to health care that hinders the adults from getting medicalcare.
Diabetes is considered a health problem because of the many peoplewho are suffering from the disease. It causes death and disabilityamong its victims as well as blindness, renal failure, andneuropathy. Diabetes affects the life expectancy of the society by 10to 20 years depending on the type of the illness that one suffers.The disease is a problem that has been in existence since the ancienttimes. However, the first breakthrough in obtaining a possiblesolution to the issue was in the 19th C when Sir EdwardAlbert discovered insulin (American Diabetes Association, 2016). Overthe years, more studies on diabetes led to the discovery of moreefficient drugs and treatment strategies.
The public health understanding of diabetes considers the issue asbeing among the leading causes of death in America. Thus, thegovernment and other health organizations are committed to reducingthe health and economic burden of the illness. Bodies such as theAmerican Diabetes Association have been formed to reach out to theentire public on how they can reduce and prevent the risk ofcontracting the disease. The disease attacks the human body indifferent forms such as Type 1, Type 2, Gestation, while anothernature of the illness arises from genetic conditions, infections,malnutrition, and other diseases (Tulchinsky & Varavikova, 2014).The most common kinds of the disease are the Type 1 and Type 2diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is whereby the immune system in the bodydestroys the pancreatic beta cells that produce the insulin hormonethat which controls the level of blood glucose. Hence, the victims ofthe type 1 diabetes have to inject themselves with insulin. Type 2diabetes involves the body resistance to utilize the insulinproperly. Therefore, as the body demands insulin, the pancreasexperiences the failure to produce it. Research indicates that mostadults suffer from the type 2 diabetes. It is argued that the social,cultural and behavior factors associated with diabetes focus on theage where older people are more at risk. About the racial groups inAmerica, it is believed that the black, Latinos and the AmericanIndians are also prone to contracting the disease.
Relationshipbetween health issue and the target population
An analysis of social, cultural, and behavior factors such as status,lifestyle, values and beliefs among adults have contributed to theincrease in diabetes in various ways. For instance, most adults whoare aged between 45-64 years who tend to suffer from the disease areunemployed. Others tend to have low-income levels and yet theyindulge in unhealthy habits such as poor nutrition, overweight,increased consumption of alcohol and smoking which makes them be at ahigher risk of contracting the illness. The population of adults whoare unemployed is currently very high which limits their ability toaccess healthcare (Northridge, et al., 2015). The socialfactors such as changes in one’s lifestyle can cause stress,particularly when the adult has a family that depends on him/her. Theincreased tension among adults also accelerates the diabetes effectsamong human beings. Some of the cultural factors such as positivebelief on the need to lead a healthy lifestyle can serve as risk orprotective elements of diabetes. For instance, in a family wherediabetes is known to be genetic, the family can engage in physicalactivity and healthy diets that reduce their chances of suffering thepublic issue.
The US Department of Health and Human Services implements theDiabetes Prevention Program that is aimed at reducing the risk ofdiabetes through engaging in body exercises. Other programs arefocused on modifying the feeding habits among adults whereby theyundertake balanced diets that are low in fats and healthier. Anotherintervention involves engaging in lifestyle changes where the adultsare trained on behavioral adjustments they need to adopt that arefocused on healthy eating, increased physical activity and loss ofexcess weight (Bigdeli, et al., 2016). The above interventionstrategies are also recommended for individuals within thepre-diabetes stage as it hinders their ability to develop the healthissue. The challenges being witnessed in the diabetes preventionprogram is the low level of commitment among the adults. Some adultstend to be resistance to change and are only willing to adjust theirlifestyles after being diagnosed with the disease. Another challengeis the lack of time among the older people who spend most of theirday working to fend for their families and are tired in the eveningto engage in physical activity. The programs recommend the adults toallocate time for physical activity, but with the low-income levels,people are always willing to sacrifice their spare time to work togenerate income.
Based on the review of current literature on diabetes as a publichealth issue, the government can also address the problem byutilizing the latest technology. Communication has been enhanced, andinformation on the prevention measures that the adults can practicecan be made available through social media platforms and otherinternet sites. Additionally, there is the need to conduct publiccampaigns on the significance of engaging in prevention measures ofdiabetes because although many adults understand the disease, somestill do not understand why it is crucial to engage in the preventionstrategies recommended. In summary, the percentage of populationsuffering from diabetes is expected to rise in future. It is believedthat if the older people fail to undertake the prevention programsand policies that the government has invested in to ensure that thepublic health remains protected from such issues.
American Diabetes Association, (2016). History of Diabetes. Online.Retrieved fromhttp://www.diabetes.org/research-and-practice/student-resources/history-of-diabetes.html Accessed on 18/7/2016
Bigdeli, M., Jacobs, B., Men, C. R., Nilsen, K., Van Damme, W., &Dujardin, B. (2016). Access to Treatment for Diabetes andHypertension in Rural Cambodia: Performance of Existing Social HealthProtection Schemes. Plos ONE, 11(1), 1-18.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0146147
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (2014). National DiabetesStatistics Report: Estimates of Diabetes and its burden in the UnitedStates, US Department of Health and Human Services. Online. Retrievedfromhttps://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pubs/statsreport14/national-diabetes-report-web.pdfAccessed on 18/7/2016
Central Intelligence Agency, (2016). The World Factbook: US Peopleand Society. Online. Retrieved fromhttps://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/us.htmlAccessed on 18/7/2016
Northridge, M. E., Chenchen, Y., Chakraborty, B., Greenblatt, A. P.,Mark, J., Golembeski, C., & … Lamster, I. B. (2015). ACommunity-Based Oral Public Health Approach to Promote Health Equity.American Journal of Public Health, 105S459-S465.
Tulchinsky, T. H., & Varavikova, E. (2014). The new publichealth. Academic Press.