Many issues are at the forefront of public health, but prevention is still the topic most discussed by health professionals. This will always be the way to break the cycle of diseases and many other health-related problems. Using the epidemiology triangle and the basics of epidemiology teenage pregnancy will be examined. This issue is still the number one preventable problem in the United States because it is not a disease, it does not “accidentally” transmit to one person to the other, and it will continue to cause problems for the young parents. The definition of epidemiology is something that took a very long time and is often misunderstood. A CDC scientist found this to be true and also found that he too was perplexed about the true definition. He went to Emory University and was asking passer-by what they though epidemiology was. The medical student said “the worst taught course in medical school” the next person said “the science of making the obvious obscure” (CDC, 2004). The answers revealed that even people who should know what epidemiology was do not so the CDC made a web page specifically designed to make the definition less “obscure.” “A less entertaining, but more conventional, definition of epidemiology is “the study of the distribution and determinants of health-related states in specified populations, and the application of this study to control health problems” (CDC, 2004, para. 10). A more simple definition is obtained by looking at the difference between a health care provider and an epidemiologist. A health care provider looks at the individual who has a disease or problem and does tests to determine the best treatment and cause. The epidemiologist looks at the entire population to eventually intervene to end the health problem and prevent it from happening (CDC, 2004). This is where teenage pregnancy fits in with public health. The epidemiology triangle is a tool often used as a guide for prevention although teenage pregnancy can often cause some problems when applying this. The epidemiology triangle is a visual tool that can help determine what part of a disease or health-related issue can stop it from happening. The triangle has three sides one representing the susceptible person or host, the other representing the causative agent, and the other representing the environment. This can be used, but often the problem is more complex than this. “To explain disease and disability caused by multiple factors, McMahon and Pugh developed the concept of web of causation” (McEwen, 2002, p. 114). This can be used to look at teenage pregnancy because this is a problem that is caused by multiple factors. “The problem of teenage pregnancy is attributable to a complex interaction between a number of causative and contributing factors including lack of knowledge about sexuality and pregnancy prevention, lack of easily accessible contraception, peer pressure to engage in sex, low self-esteem, social patterns that encourage early motherhood, and use of alcohol or other drugs” (McEwen, 2002, p. 114). Although it is complex to why teens engage in sexual activity given all the issues it is often simple to come up with a solution, education! Looking at the multiple variables alerts the health care professional to engage teens in many activities to properly educate them. Interventions need to include building self-esteem; role playing on how to say no; educating parents on how to properly supervise activities; information in understandable terms on contraception and how pregnancy occurs (McEwen, 2002). When examining teenage pregnancy there are two types of epidemiology methods that are used. “Descriptive epidemiology considers the amount and distribution of disease within a population by person, place, and time. This is used primarily to describe patterns of disease rather than considering or speculating on the cause” (McEwen, 2002, p....
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