WEEK 6 Assignment 2: Defining the Problem and Research Methods Essay

WEEK 6 Assignment 2: Defining the Problem and Research Methods Essay

WEEK 6 Assignment 2: Defining the Problem and Research Methods Essay

Defining the Problem and Research Methods

One of the major focuses of healthcare professionals over the years is population health which refers to the health outcomes distribution within a particular population, determinants of health that impact the distribution, and the interventions and policies that affect the determinants (Bor et al., 2017). Therefore, population health study is important since it ensures that there is better healthcare delivery and patient health. Among the strategies that can be applied in studying and critically analyzing a population, the health problem is the epidemiological approach which includes exploration of various aspects such as the role played by environment and culture in health issues and how personality impacts health outcomes. Therefore the purpose of this assignment is to define a health problem and research methods. As such, various aspects will be explored including, the problem and the environment selected, the problem in terms of person, place, time, and the magnitude of the problem.

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The Problem Selected

One of the most chronic conditions is hypertension. High blood pressure exposes patients to other chronic conditions such as cardiovascular conditions. Indeed, due to the revised definition and threshold of hypertension in the last five years, the cases of cardiovascular conditions have been on the rise (Ferdinand et al., 2020). Using the 140/90 mmHg as the threshold in hypertension diagnostics criteria, various populations have been shown to experience different burdens as caused by hypertension. One group of people or population that has shown in the past and present to have worse outcomes are the African American population. From recent statistics, African Americans at 40.3 %  were noted to possess a greater burden of the disease as compared to other populations such as Hispanic, Asian or white (Ferdinand et al., 2020).

The Environment

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Patients with hypertension usually need careful and consistent care management. Even though they can largely be managed as outpatients, they still need to follow various management strategies in their home environment. As earlier indicated, the selected population in terms of person are African-Americans living with hypertension. Even though the condition is chronic, most patients can live in their homes and attend clinics as directed by the care team (Forde et al., 2020). Hypertension, like many other chronic conditions, has various adverse impacts. In the USA in particular, hypertension is a major public health problem as it raises the risk for cardiovascular diseases affecting close to thirty percent of the USA adult population.

High blood pressure has a significant risk for deaths in the African American community due to cardiovascular complications. Indeed, the rates of death have been shown to be high among African Americans as compared to other races. Due to the recent developments in the field of hypertension management, the rates of mortality due to hypertension have been on the decline among Hispanic blacks and whites. However, such an impact has not been observed among African Americans as enhanced rates of mortality are being observed (Jurascheck et al., 2018). Hypertension also comes with various complications such as premature deaths and disabilities due to end-stage renal disease, stroke, and myocardial infarction. The higher prevalence of the condition among the African-American population and the enhanced negative impacts calls for the identification of modifiable risk factors amenable to behavioral solution among this population to help in mitigating the risk of developing the condition.

The Magnitude of Hypertension

Hypertension also remains at the top of the list of modifiable risk factors for developing cardiovascular diseases. Even though the condition is most prevalent among African Americans, it also disproportionately impact African American men and women. From a recent study, it has been shown that the condition is more prevalent at 46.3% among African American women as compared to African American men at 45% (Spikes et al., 2019). The enhanced prevalence rates have been associated with various factors such as racism, medical racism, lifestyle risk factors such as little physical exercise, poor access to quality food, high fat diet, and high salt, resistant hypertension, and earlier hypertension.

The enhanced rates of hypertension among African Americans have also been connected to inactivity, obesity, low potassium intake, and high sodium intake. In addition to the fact that hypertension is more prevalent among African Americans, the condition is also observed at relatively earlier ages, presents with enhanced severity, and is usually connected to disproportionate organ damage levels in comparison to other groups.

Research Question

The adverse impacts of hypertension among populations, especially among the African American population, imply that more research should be done to formulate cost-effective and practical solutions to the problem or reduce its negative impacts. As such, to potentially reduce the impact of the condition through a study. The following research questions can be used.

  1. What will be the effect of using physical exercise/activity among patients with hypertension on the condition and related quality of life metrics?
  2. What is the impact of using a DASH intervention on the development of hypertension and progression of hypertension among African American population?

The Epidemiologic Study Design to Be Used

The choice of study design to be applied in epidemiology heavily hinges on various factors. Some of the factors include the hypotheses and research question, the available time and resources, ethics, the type of exposure of interest, and the type of outcome of interest. Therefore, the epidemiologic study design chosen for this potential study is a cross-sectional study. Such a study design is known to be good for the generation of hypotheses, and depending on the question, the strategy is relatively inexpensive, quick, and easy (LoBiondo-Wood & Haber, 2021). In addition, by using the method, a researcher can examine multiple outcomes or exposures and estimate the prevalence of exposures and diseases.


Assessment Strategies

The use of cross-sectional study design to help answer the research questions requires that two groups of participants are used; the control group and the intervention group. From the research questions, two interventions are suggested; they entail using the Dash diet and implementing a physical activity strategy. So the selection of the two groups will be made through randomization to take care of possible biases that can occur due to sampling (Nieswiadomy & Bailey, 2018). Therefore, randomization will be key in addressing various limitations or problems connected to sampling. The process of randomization can be difficult if a researcher does not understand the statistical aspects of randomization. Therefore, even though it can be convenient to use in such a study, it may be necessary to consult a professional statistician who can help in the whole process.

A summary of Data Collection Activities

Data collection is an integral part of a research process as it gives an investigator to obtain the necessary data that can be used in answering the research questions upon an appropriate analysis. During data collection, various activities or strategies can be used to accomplish the targeted end. One of the activities that can be used to obtain the raw data is a survey; surveys can either be conducted online or done using hardcopy means. As such, the targeted survey will be used to determine whether the targeted participants have ever been diagnosed with hypertension. However, it is important for the researcher to be careful with data obtained from the survey as some people can lie, leading to biased data and information (Boswell & Cannon, 2018). In making such data more valid, the researcher can back it up with the data obtained from a patient’s electronic health record. Due to the covid-19 pandemic, conducting online surveys can be the best route to follow so as to obey the health directive efforts on various issues such as social distancing.

Surveys enable the researcher to apply a wide range of questions designed to get the most responses from the respondents. Another data collection strategy that can be applied is the use of electronic health records containing patient data. Electronic health records are a reliable data source as they contain every aspect of a patient’s treatment and hospitalization data (Boswell & Cannon, 2018). Therefore, the data obtained from these records can be key in determining how effective the proposed intervention has been in preventing the development of hypertension among high-risk patients and how the lifestyle modification strategies have impacted the progression of the condition among patients with hypertension.


In conclusion, population health is a major focus of the healthcare sector, and therefore, the healthcare experts employ various strategies to identify various health problems that can negatively impact population health and implement research methods to come up with a remedy. One of such conditions that have been a problem to the public is hypertension. Therefore, this paper has explored hypertension among African Americans. The condition is more prevalent among African Americans due to various health disparities. The condition also has various adverse impacts on people, implying that there is a need to come up with better strategies for managing the condition.


Bor, J., Cohen, G. H., & Galea, S. (2017). Population health in an era of rising income inequality: USA, 1980–2015. The Lancet389(10077), 1475-1490. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(17)30571-8.

Boswell, C., & Cannon, S. (2018). Introduction to nursing research. Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Ferdinand, D. P., Nedunchezhian, S., & Ferdinand, K. C. (2020). Hypertension in African Americans: advances in community outreach and public health approaches. Progress in cardiovascular diseases63(1), 40-45. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pcad.2019.12.005.

Forde, A. T., Sims, M., Muntner, P., Lewis, T., Onwuka, A., Moore, K., & Diez Roux, A. V. (2020). Discrimination and hypertension risk among African Americans in the Jackson heart study. Hypertension76(3), 715-723.https://doi.org/10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.119.14492

Juraschek, S. P., White, K., Tang, O., Yeh, H. C., Cooper, L. A., & Miller III, E. R. (2018). Effects of a Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet intervention on serum uric acid in African Americans with hypertension. Arthritis care & research70(10), 1509-1516. https://doi.org/10.1002/acr.23515.

LoBiondo-Wood, G., & Haber, J. (2021). Nursing Research E-Book: Methods and Critical Appraisal for Evidence-Based Practice. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Nieswiadomy, R. M., & Bailey, C. (2018). Foundations of nursing research.

Spikes, T., Higgins, M., Quyyumi, A., Reilly, C., Pemu, P., & Dunbar, S. (2019). The relationship among health beliefs, depressive symptoms, medication adherence, and social support in African Americans with hypertension. Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing34(1), 44-51. Doi: 10.1097/JCN.0000000000000519.

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Assignment 2: Defining the Problem and Research Methods

Sections 1 and 2 of Major Assessment 7: Using an Epidemiological Approach to Critically Analyze a Population Health Problem

How do culture and environment influence health? What role does personality play in health outcomes? How do stressful life events influence disease? As a health care professional, you have most likely witnessed the influence of psychosocial factors on individual health. These factors also have a significant impact on population health. Chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and heart disease, as well as degenerative diseases, can be studied at the population level through the use of epidemiologic methods (Friis, 2021). The insights gained from this type of research can then positively impact health outcomes locally, nationally, and globally.

As you continue working on Assignment 2, which is due by Day 7 of this week, consider how psychosocial factors influence your population and population health issue.

To complete:

In 5–6 pages, write the following sections of your paper:

Section 1: The Problem

A brief outline of the environment you selected (i.e., home, workplace, school)
A summary of your selected population health problem in terms of person, place, and time, and the magnitude of the problem based on data from appropriate data resources (Reference the data resources you used.)
Research question/hypothesis

Section 2: Research Methods

The epidemiologic study design you would use to assess and address your population health problem
Assessment strategies (i.e., if you were conducting a case-control study, how would you select your cases and controls? Regarding the methods and tools you would use to make these selections, how is it convenient for you as the researcher or as the investigator to use this tool?)
Summary of the data collection activities (i.e., how you would collect data—online survey, paper/pen, mailing, etc.)

By Day 7

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