Teen Pregnancy is one such issue that has benefited from application of the epidemiological methods of investigation.
In order to identify how these principles are applied to this serious issue, it is important to first understand exactly what epidemiology is and how an epidemiological investigation is accomplished. The United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) defines epidemiology as "the study of the distribution and determinants of health-related states in specified populations, and the application of this study to control health problems" (2004, 1). As seen by this definition not only is the breadth of the problem examined but causes and effects are discovered and corrective actions are taken to reduce or eliminate the problem. Delving more deeply into several of the key words of this definition will allow us to understand how epidemiological principles are being applied to the problem of teenage pregnancy.
Epidemiology is first a study. This implies that is scientific in nature based on empirical evidence and statistics collected using strict methodologies that can be replicated, thereby, validated by other scientists. Without this data, the existence and/or extent of a problem can not be determined. Applying these epidemiological principles to the study of teen pregnancy is no different. ...
This data is collected and distributed via the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) which compiles the data of all births in the United States from the birth records provided by all hospitals. This legally mandated reporting system provides accurate data on the number of teens giving birth as well as specific demographic details such as race, legal residence, age, and number of previous births (Martin et.al. 2006). From this data changes, distribution patterns and trends over time can be monitored and areas for future research and causal relationships can be researched further.
Additionally, based upon this ongoing monitoring, programs put into place to reduce or eliminate teen-age pregnancy can be evaluated for effectiveness. This is only possible through this accurate data collection and just as importantly the publishing of results which allows for researchers to evaluate and further investigate this serious issue.
The next area that shows the epidemiological principals are applied to the teen pregnancy problem can be found in the anonymity of data collection and studies performed. Epidemiology focuses on groups of people as opposed to individual cases. All the government agencies previously discussed as well as private agencies that present statistical data on teen pregnancy deal with teen pregnancy in terms of numbers, percentages and other statistics, which are further broken down into various categories such as race of mother, age, economic background, educational level, number of pregnancies and many other categories as opposed to individual case studies.
Based on this ongoing data, researcher further apply principles of epidemiology by analyzing the