Health Issue

For this assignment, you are to select a target population with a specific health issue and
research how social, cultural, and behavior factors of the target population contribute to
health outcomes associated with the health issue. The 1,200-1,500 word Research Paper

Health Issue

This research paper intends to investigate health problems which have for so long
been affecting the Alaska people. Alaska is among the places where native people stay in the
United States. The paper explores diabetes as a health issue facing the population in Alaska.
It’s going to be a detailed analysis of factors from social, cultural to behaviors interfering the
prevention and cure of diabetes among the Alaskans. The paper will furthermore note measures
that can be practiced to get rid of this phenomena.


Target Population

Alaskans are a native group in the United States of America. They migrated in the
past millennium and settled in the northern and southern regions of America. Their realizable
language defines them. The population of these people was estimated to be 663,000 in a census
done in 2010 and the majority of them was the youth. A large portion of the population was
noted to be female in comparison with the male. The community is entrenched with a cultural
way of life such as dancing and their way of dressing. The community is not well of because a
majority of them are unemployed and poor. The Alaskans value their self-esteem just like the
Indian communities.

Health Issue

Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disease that extends for the entire duration of life and
brings about high levels of sugar in a person’s blood. There are three types of this disease
namely type 1, type2, and Gestation diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is developed because of lack of
insulin in the early stage. Type 2 occurs as a result of cells not responding to insulin in the body
and Gestational diabetes may affect women during pregnancy. Over the past decades diabetes
has been an epidemic in the United States since it has led to the death of many citizens in the
country. Zimmet, (2014) affirmed that more than 28 million of the United States population
suffer from diabetes. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention gave an estimation that by
2048 one in every four adults would have contracted the disease.
Alaska has been the most affected region. This region is most exposed to diabetes due
to their cultural, social and behavioral traits. Diabetes has been uncontrollable due to these


Relationships between Health Issue and the Target Population
The social way of the people mainly contributes to the high rate of diabetes cases
in the community according to (Hill et al., 2013). This is also because they are marginalized
and are socially deficient. Many of the people in the community do not have a source of
everyday income as they are unemployed. The tribal members, therefore, do not afford medical
insurance to cover their medical expenses. They also do not have the enough cash to buy the
prescribed drugs. They eventually end up being unable to access appropriate healthcare. The
community is not able to ensure good diet in their daily meals due to low per capita income
thus increasing the risks of getting diabetes.

The community’s geographical and topographic aspects frustrate their
accessibility to hospitals. Hospitals are located far away, and the region has the very poor
infrastructure (Hill et al., 2013). Therefore, reaching to these health institutions is a big problem
to the population. Besides, the healthcare trainees are not able to get to remote areas to provide
those with diabetes health services. The high rate of diabetes in Alaska is also greatly due to the
low education attainment of its residents. Low education results in the lack of awareness of the
causes, symptoms, and measures to prevent the disease.

Other cultural views of Alaska that leads to high rate of diabetes include their
cultural relation with other ethnic groups. Alaskan’s culture holds suspicion to other people of
different communities. They clearly have no trust with other ethnic personnel. For this reason,
they do not trust healthcare staff and the good services they provide to them. They thus end up
refusing diabetic and other illnesses treatment. Linguistic differences with other people make
the administration of treatment and education to the natives of Alaska quite challenging since
interpreters would probably have to be employed to enhance effective communication. The

cultural food taken currently in the region is another ethnic aspect. The community has adopted
ethnic inexpensive foods due to the high costs of living. This eventually makes them consume
more calories than the recommended for a healthy body.

Finally, the people of Alaska have a behavior of consulting the professionals only
when in critical conditions. This hinders early treatment of diabetes. Most people consult
experts when they are almost dying instead of seeking medical attention early. An increased
rate of contracting a diabetic disease is also caused by the self-management habit of the young
people in Alaska. A large number of the population ignore the directions by health
professionals and prefer self-management. As a result of self-management, they end up
worsening their diabetic conditions.

Current Interventions

A thorough education on diabetes has been started by the federal government with
the aim of reaching the interior populations in the United States. A good example is the
National Diabetes Prevention Program launched to curb this epidemic. Such programs are
meant to educate citizens on the harm, causes and preventive measures to get rid of diabetes.
Other adopted strategies include the SAMHSA program. The coexistence and interaction
among individuals of different ethnicity are achieved through such initiatives. SAMHSA aims
at promoting working together and reliance among the Alaska and Indian natives. The state
government has begun Affordable Care Act so as to bring health care to the low income

It is very difficult and challenging for the state and federal governments to
enhance the workability of these techniques and initiatives because of the huge amount of

capital required. Different languages spoken among the native communities hinders efficient
communication between professionals and ethnic communities (Tenzer, et al., 2014). The
accessibility of interior regions is also another challenge that makes it hard for the government
to reach people with drugs, devices and healthcare staff to this marginalized regions.


Infrastructure in the remote regions where the native communities stay should be
improved by the federal and state government. The infrastructure includes good roads,
pharmacies, and hospitals to improve the accessibility of healthcare services to all citizens.
Secondly, free communal facilities and education should be provided by the government so as
to rice the literacy level of the communities and create awareness on diabetes.
The government should also enlist qualified healthcare professionals with the ability to
understand and interpret different ethnic languages. They would, therefore, ensure effective
communication with local patients and healthcare colleagues.



Hill, J., Nielsen, M., & Fox, M. H. (2013). Understanding the social factors that contribute to
diabetes: a means to inform health care and social policies for the chronically ill. The
Permanente Journal, 17(2), 67.
Tenzer, H., Pudelko, M., & Harzing, A. W. (2014). The impact of language barriers on trust
formation in multinational teams. Journal of International Business Studies, 45(5), 508-
Zimmet, P. Z., Magliano, D. J., Herman, W. H., & Shaw, J. E. (2014). Diabetes: a 21st century
challenge. The lancet Diabetes & endocrinology, 2(1), 56-64.