Epidemiology is an integral part of public health and its study. The effects of this study as a whole has enabled the findings on proper approaches to averting health concerns for the general public. As such, it has been considered a basic part of public health studies. It makes use of research methods, statistics and probabilities for the purpose of testing hypotheses on existing public health information. The result of such information is useful in the determination of steps that epidemiologists and clinicians will take in order to deal with public health concerns. This paper is an analysis of the influences of public health based on various studies that have concluded on the same.
A relationship has been established between public health and various characteristics; namely the biological, behavioral and societal influences. Certain public health concerns are likely to arise based on the influence of these factors in the daily living of individuals in society. Investigations into the links between public health and these phenomena has been proven on many occasions and continue to be used as the basis upon which public health risks can be classified. Factors such as disease distribution in its frequency of infection, or the likelihood of an injury occurring are all based on the above-mentioned factors and their interplay with the epidemiology filed. Such factors are likely to influence things such as the spread of a communicable disease or any other infectious disease. Their relation to the field is that the public health can now determine which direction to go upon careful examination of the influence behind the public health risk.
Biological Influences in Epidemiology
Biological influences play perhaps the biggest role in epidemiology. The influence of the spread of an infection is based on biological factors such as the general immunity of the people involved. The spread of disease and injury arising from a public health concern can only be measured against the general biological influences of the person, such as susceptibility to disease. Analytical epidemiology is concerned with finding out the factors behind the spread and infection of the public health risk, which is a largely biological thing. For example, in considering the prevalence of cancer in a community, epidemiologists may consider the genetic make-up of the persons concerned. Research has shown that greater exposure to the public health risk should lead to greater rates of frequency and incidence of the disease.
Biological factors that have been known to be considered throughout the research include stress, chemicals, mortality rates and other biological agents that may come into play in the incidence of a disease (Henneken, 2011). Studies have gone on to try and find out the biological effects of the environment that one is living in with relation to their risk exposure to the public health risk (Smith & Ebrahim, 2003). Smith & Ebrahim (2003) went about studying the use of the Mendelian randomization method in examining genes for their ability to recognize environmental factors and thus contribute to the occurrence of a disease in epidemiology. The conclusion of the study showed that despite the limitation, the study was able to conclusively show that the biological influence of the genetic formation has some bearing on the prevalence of a specific disease.
Societal factors in Epidemiology
Social factors have also been known to have an effect on the general well-being of a person/persons in the society. Influences such as age, gender and ethnicity among other socioeconomic factors have been known to influence public health trends among various peoples. For example, it has been noticed that among the Latin American population, there is the likelihood of getting cardiovascular conditions as opposed to any other population in the US. This has been proven that as a result of the existing social conditions, they are more likely to contract such diseases. Behaviors such as smoking, intake of fatty foods among other risk behaviors are social factors that have been associated with negative health effects among the Latin American subgroup of peoples. Certain factors were associated with higher prevalence of cardiovascular conditions among certain populations above others, namely the Latin American populations. Factors such as smoking, alcohol intake, lack of physical activity, obesity among other factors played a role in the prevalence of such diseases (American Heart Organization, 2012). Other factors such as acculturation can be considered in the course of the analysis of prevalence of a disease. This was the case for the study conducted by Davilgus et al (2012), where the length of stay in the United States was being measured against the prevalence of cardiovascular conditions (Davilgus, et al., 2012).
Societal approaches to health have been taken on many instances. The aim of the question of societal influences is to give the answer of what next is going to be done with regards to social concerns of the public health risks. The health of the community has been sampled through the various societal approaches to the overall health situation of the people. This has been seen severally as the health situation has been measured based on indicators that affect the general population. Such indicators include eating habits, physical activity among others. The community equally makes sure that the effects of the various applications of public health are useful in its areas.
Behavioral Influences in Epidemiology
Originally, the field of epidemiology was largely concerned with the behaviors of communicable diseases. Thereafter, the field expanded to include other areas such as infectious disease and non-communicable diseases and their behaviors under certain environments. The behaviors of such diseases under such environments thus were the main dedication of this particular area of study. Epidemiology was more concerned with this area. On the other hand, other concerns of the field included behavioral traits in a community that caused the increase in frequency of diseases for a specific population. This included behaviors such as sleep patterns, habits such as alcohol consumption and smoking among other factors. For example, Hispanics have been known to have certain inclinations towards the cardiovascular conditions as a result of their disposition towards certain behavioral traits that are unique to them. For example, Hispanics who are not active physically and do not watch their diets are more likely to be subject to cardiovascular diseases as opposed to those who are not engaged in this.
American Heart Organization. (2012). Hispanics and Heart Disease, Stroke. Retrieved from Heart.org: www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/more/myheartandstrokenews/hispanics-and-heart-disease-stroke_UCM_444864_article.jsp#maincontent
Davilgus, M., Talavera, G., Aviles-Santa, L., Allison, M., Cai, J., Criqui, M., . . . Giachello, A. (2012). Prevalence of major cardiovascular risk factors and cardiovascular diseases among Hispanic/Latino individuals of diverse backgrounds in the United States. JAMA.
Henneken, C. (2011). "Principles of Epidemiology" Key Concepts in Public Health. London: Sage, UK.
Smith, G., & Ebrahim, S. (2003). 'Mendelian Randomization': can genetic epidemiology contribute to understanding environmental determinants of a disease? International Journal of Epidemiology.
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