Diabetics: Epidemiological Approach to Critical Analysis

Topic: Endocrinology
Words: 1679 Pages: 6


The health of any population depends on various factors, such as genetics, environment, economy, psychosocial aspects, and overall lifestyle tendencies. Consequently, epidemiological research about diseases must view the issue from several perspectives simultaneously to achieve considerable results. Diabetes, as one of the most significant modern health challenges, is the case where observational studies consider different conditions, their correlations, and consequences. Moreover, disease development and prevention vary for individuals with specific genetic, socioeconomic, and environmental circumstances; therefore, evidence-based research requires narrowing the topic to a particular population (Chow et al., 2018). For instance, diabetes management is commonly performed under parental surveillance, overuse of which can lead to a lack of self-control in adolescence, worsening the chronic conditions (Eva et al., 2018). This paper aims to discuss how epidemiological research can be applied to study how the parents’ intervention influences an adolescent’s self-management with diabetes.

The Problem

Diabetes is a widespread disease in many countries and populations, including the United States, and it severely influences national mortality rates. As the condition is chronic, has a genetic predisposition, and can be triggered by numerous environmental factors, individuals can develop it early on (Chow et al., 2018). Furthermore, diabetes requires continuous control, and adults are involved in supporting their child’s well-being. In a home environment where parental intervention is considerable, a young individual with diabetes might maintain comfortable blood sugar levels, timely receive medication, and stay safe from environmental agents. However, as adolescence begins, parents’ authority decreases, and the aspiration to be independent can reveal that a teenager lacks self-management skills and control over their diabetes (Rankin et al., 2018). The issue appears due to the intense parents’ intervention during childhood and the risk-absent home environment.


Diabetes development and exposure are strongly tied to lifestyle, and the increasing incidents rate emphasizes the severity of the population’s health problem. Today people can easily access numerous variations of unhealthy foods, have a sedentary lifestyle, and delay medical checkups due to the costs of healthcare services. Consequently, a modern person lives at a high risk of diabetes, and individuals who already have this chronic illness are in danger of worsening their health. Genetic predisposition contributes to approximately 60% of susceptibility by affecting insulin processing and chromosomes, and the deviation is hereditary (Gamboa et al., 2017). Moreover, diabetes development is tied to environmental agents such as air pollution, low-quality water, unhealthy diet, frequent stress, vitamin deficiency, and decreased physical activity (Gamboa et al., 2017). Most individuals have at least two of these external triggers in their lifestyle, increasing the risk of illness occurrence.

Diabetes requires self-management, and adolescents are the population with the most challenging situation around controlling their conditions. Indeed, hormonal changes, desire to socialize and difficulties in relationships with adults can have severe outcomes (Rankin et al., 2018). However, controlling skills taught by the parents during childhood and providing children with sufficient independence to learn self-management can considerably help an adolescent person deal with diabetes. As the selected age is transformative for a person, the outcomes of poor self-support traits might lead to severe consequences in the future.


Diabetes is a national healthcare challenge in the United States due to its economical cost and influence on mortality rates. Indeed, 10% of the US population have diabetes, and 34% have pre-disease conditions (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2020). Different cultures, ethnicities, and racial groups live in the United States, and this circumstance complicates disease treatment and prevention. A diverse population does not have a unified set of genetic predispositions, people live in dissimilar environments, and although the place is the same country, the external agents and risks vary (Gamboa et al., 2017). Adolescents who live in households with low socioeconomic conditions or have an unhealthy atmosphere in their families can lack the ability to properly self-manage their diabetes.


Modern prevention and treatment technologies continuously improve; however, diabetes remains a major challenge for healthcare services nationwide. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic complicates chronic disease management and limits resources by forcing facilities to prioritize the infection spread (Cardona‐Hernandez et al., 2021). Adolescents, among other diabetics, must improve their self-management approaches and integrate them with the COVID-19 prevention regulations. The recent times’ circumstances are also challenging to address by the parents whose worries increase and can cause more intense control over their children with diabetes.

The Problem’s Magnitude and Research Question

Millions of citizens of diverse cultural and racial backgrounds have diabetes or have risks increasing lifestyle and environment. CDC (2020) states that “210,000 children and adolescents younger than age 20 years—or 25 per 10,000 US youths— had diagnosed diabetes.” Moreover, the trend of growing incidence in the selected age group exists, specifically among Hispanic and African American populations (CDC, 2020). Considering that adolescents are the country’s future, and the rates of diabetes tend to grow, the magnitude of the problem is immense. Teenagers’ ability to maintain optimal conditions through self-management is crucial for making the next generations healthier. Based on the data research and the problem’s identification, the research question can be “How does the parents’ intervention influence an adolescent’s self-management with diabetes?”

Research Methods

Epidemiologic Study Design

Self-management of adolescent diabetics and their parents’ control can be explored via an epidemiologic study. The observational design would provide a significant scope of data to assess from various perspectives and make a foundation to develop approaches for addressing the selected population’s health problem. Epidemiologic studies are commonly separated into the cohort, cross-sectional, and case-control, and the appropriate format must be identified based on the type of data necessary for achieving results answering the initial question (Friis & Sellers, 2021). The third type of research design is the most appropriate for assessing the challenges of self-management among teenagers with diabetes. Case-control studies require dividing a population into groups, doing experiments, and driving conclusions based on the outcomes of implementations (Friis & Sellers, 2021). Indeed, separating the adolescents according to the range of their parent’s involvement in controlling diabetes is beneficial to admit or deny the research question.

Adolescents’ ability to properly manage their diabetic conditions is the outcome of past activities of their parents. The case-control epidemiologic study design is suitable for conclusions based on retrospective information (Friis & Sellers, 2021). Experiments on the groups are necessary to admit the parental intervention’s influence on how teenagers deal with self-management. Besides, the observational study design is beneficial for identifying certain distinctions between attitudes of diabetics, and further studies would use the data for developing the most effective diabetes control strategies for adolescents.

Assessment Strategies

The assessment strategy is crucial for pointing out the study direction, selection of tools, and data collection approaches; therefore, it must comply with the research design and question. Families with identified low levels of past parental intervention in diabetes management for the case-control structure can be selected as a control group. Furthermore, to exclude other factors such as genetic predisposition to specific conditions of the disease and adolescent changes, and cultural backgrounds, no representatives of specific ethnic populations or ages’ must dominate any group (Belbasis & Bellou, 2018). Tools such as surveys and questionnaires would be used for the selection to help researchers gather sufficient information to divide the participants (Belbasis & Bellou, 2018). Methods, where communication with participants is included are convenient for the case-control study because it allows to initiate the data collection process and retrieve crucial details which might influence the entire research.

A case-control study of the interdependence between parental control and adolescents’ diabetes self-management would benefit from including experiments. For instance, the same strategies for communication can be offered to the parents to influence their relationships with children. On the other hand, teenagers can be offered to learn a new self-management approach to dealing with diabetes. Participants who obtain the novel strategy faster and more effectively would be considered more capable of controlling their conditions (Gamboa et al., 2017). The experimental section of the study would require surveying before and after the activity and observation of the tasks’ performance (Friis & Sellers, 2021). The range and diverse basis of tools might become inconvenient for researchers because such a program is time-consuming. However, the scope of data that can be obtained from communicating with participants and observing them during the experiment is significant for the results’ verification.

Data Collection Activities

Data collection for the case-control study must be performed on different research studies. The initial segmentation, basic information, and identification of parents’ intervention assessment require surveys and interviews. The former can be performed remotely and is necessary to identify participants’ backgrounds and exclude the specific conditions of the children’s diabetes (Parast & Paknahad, 2017). Interviews would benefit from being conducted in an in-person format and would help evaluate the level of parents’ involvement in the disease management and understand how adolescents perceive the control approaches of their families. After the experiment part of the research, the questionnaires about the experience can be distributed among participants to reveal the patterns in the reactions and make conclusions (Belbasis & Bellou, 2018). Researchers might require implementing tagging, categorizing, or coding the collected information to optimize further analysis and notice tendencies or changes during the study.


Diabetes is a chronic disease that demands daily control and self-management, which cannot be successfully performed without proper habits development. Most conditions maintenance attitudes are developed during childhood, yet the affected children’s parents might severely influence the process, and epidemiologic research can support or deny that statement. Adolescence is the period when self-management is the most challenging due to hormonal and psychological changes; therefore, teenagers without solid diabetes control habits might worsen their conditions. The case-control study design is the most appropriate because it provides a foundation to test a question and achieve objective results. Participants would be surveyed, divided into two groups, and the experiments related to the parents’ communication approaches and adolescents’ learning capabilities would be performed. Data collection tools would include interviews, questionnaires, surveys, and observations during the experimental activities part of the study. The research results would offer evidence for identifying how the parents’ intervention influences an adolescent’s self-management with diabetes.


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