Nutritional habits are one of the most intricate elements of human behavior, being influenced by numerous motives and regulated by multiple stimuli. Foods deemed to be edible by a certain ethnic group may, in most cases, be inedible in other societies. Notably, culture mainly comprises elements such as religion, norms, beliefs, and values that affect an individual’s nutritional habits. Food and food habits as a basic part of culture serve as an emphasis of emotive link, a channel of love, discernment, and condemnation and typically have emblematic orientations. Often, healthcare practitioners are vital in subduing high-risk nutritional habits within society. Americans, African-Americans, and Hispanic Latinos are extremely affected by their cultural, ethnicity, and historical contexts; therefore, health practitioners play a pivotal role in managing their high-risk dietary practices.
High-Risk Nutritional Habits amongst Three Cultures
According to Reddy and Anitha (2015), even with evidence that various practices are harmful, several cultures adamantly contend on their customary cuisine as a part of their distinctiveness. The association of tradition and health concerns is backed by demographic assessment of patients ailing from lifestyle diseases, which points to a shared delusion in several cultures, making them extra vulnerable compared to others.
African Americans are personified by distinct cultural undertakings and food and eating traditions, most of which lead to cultural variances in maladaptive nutritional patterns and results. Drug abuse, alcoholism, smoking, and low intake of fresh foods are some of the most common high-risk dietary practices that distinguish the African American culture. The African-American culture is known to ingest foods that pose a significant threat to their nutritional benefits. This is attributed to the archetypal food diet within the group that comprises increased fat, salt, sugar, and meat levels. Food rich in such elements substances develops a key threat to numerous health-related ailments in the community. This is primarily attributed to their low social class, whereby most African American populaces are underprivileged and barely have the funds to buy fresh foods daily. Rather, they choose to buy more ice-covered or canned meals due to the extended shelf-life, costs, and expediency purposes. Similar studies indicate that that canned or frozen foods are the primary causes of obesity amongst additional chronic ailments.
Historical Perspective and Belief Systems of African Americans
Unhealthy eating practices are mainly attributed to financial aspects, cultural beliefs, and other communally and culturally accrued causes. African Americans are not exempt from unhealthy dietary habits or maladaptive nutritional patterns arising from their cultural way of life and views. According to Skala et al. (2012), reports indicate that African-American youth are amongst groups of individuals who face a significant threat of obesity compared to individuals hailing high-income families. The historical trend is seen across all ages and gender and is also reflective of purchasing food patterns amongst the youth, leading to ethnic discrepancies based on nutritional practices.
The African American culture is principally founded on the overall standpoint of parenthood. As a result, parental food-related practices amongst African American families bear significant consequences on numerous eating patterns and practices among African American children. Skala et al. (2012) indicate a great inclination for numerous African American parents to incorporate strict practices that include but are not restricted to curbing and offering dessert. There is great constancy of the authoritarian principles and features to a larger level since it connects to dietary behaviours and pattern variations within the African American culture. Nonetheless, the parental repression linked with African American cultural principles has been evidenced to be inversely linked to the ingestion of fresh foods. Sequentially, the beliefs have stimulated high-risk dietary practices leading to a high predominance of overweight and corpulence amongst African American children.
The Hispanic-Latinos is a mixed group of individuals originating from different nations with diverse cultural beliefs. The group individuals are known to have varied diet preferences, whereby most of their nutritional practices replicate their roots and customs. According to Siega-Riz et al. (2014), variance in nutritional habits amongst the American public are part of the fundamental reasons the nation is witnessing a growth in high-risk dietary practices. Therefore, it is vital to recognize and analyze the Hispanics’ variances in nutritional practices. This would greatly assist in ascertaining how culture may impact the dietary practices and evaluate the surge of disorders causing early deaths, mainly attributed to nutritional practices. Hispanic individuals are widely associated with consuming foods high in fat and sugar content, necessitating an increase in cardiovascular disorders such as diabetes, obesity, and hypercholesterolemia. According to Daviglus et al. (2012), the occurrence rate of CVD amongst the Hispanic male and female currently stands at 5% and 3%, respectively, whereas coronary heart ailment and stroke amongst stands at 2 % and 1%. This is a troublesome indicator that necessitates a vital and multidisciplinary outlook to handle the case bearing in mind that the populations’ varied cultural beliefs prompt high-risk dietary behaviours.
Historical Beliefs and Belief Systems
Communities believed to record a high prevalence rate of cardio-vascular ailments have an extended historic background shaped by the acculturation of America’s rich tradition. For examples, the Cubans and Puerto Ricans’ nutritional practices are profound of their unique culture and the wider American culture, and the borrowing of one culture to the other has redefined nutritional customs of the specific groups of the Hispanic populace, which are considered the major groups that make up the Hispanic minority in the United States. According to Daviglus et al. (2012), Puerto Ricans and Cubans make up approximately 17% and 16% of the Hispanic populace in the United States. The lower CVD prevalence rates amongst the groups are similarly attributed to their prolonged stay in the United States, where acculturation had a major impact on their unique cultural inclinations concerning food choices and nutritional practices.
The Hispanic culture is mainly typified by significant demographic variances, particularly within the home food environment of families with low income. For example, most low-households partake in the culture of high-risk nutritional lifestyles, creating more room for high-risk dietary practices amongst kids and grownups. Numerous Hispanic parents do not trust that their kids’ dietary practices are shaped by what is consumed at home and the mode of preparation. Therefore, it may not be astounding that most
Hispanic families have family-oriented meal arrangements that are mainly characterized by minimal accessibility to fresh foods, for instance, fruits and vegetables. Most Hispanic parents trust that being more limiting based on nutritional aspects at the family level may be unfulfilling to their kids’ nutritional inclinations in the future and has been a hereditary practice for many years.
The American culture is predominant in regards to high-risk dietary practices. Contemporary American citizens have extremely been swayed by contemporary eating habits deemed to be unhealthy. According to Merrick & Israeli (2014), the fast-food delivery structure in the United States takes a significant toll on American kids and youths. Most foods mainly consist of junk and drinks with a high concentration of caffeine. Moreover, the eating pattern is presumed to be irregular as most indulge in bingeing, resulting in various disorders, for instance, bulimia nervosa. Moreover, most teenagers take up self-induced consumption to regulate their weight after consumption, presenting a significant risk to victims. This has mainly resulted in numerous disorders, for instance, corpulence, which is predominant among kids attributed to a surge in junk food intake. The high-risk dietary conduct among this group comprises individuals who are heavy smokers and partake in high amounts of alcohol.
The belief systems amongst American citizens are regulated by their likings that mainly involve obtaining meals from fast food outlets. In most cases, most individuals are engaged in two job shifts to cater to the expenses. Therefore, their routine becomes ordering fast food meals or purchasing foods from a drive-through. According to Merrick & Israeli (2014), American citizens believe that alcohol consumption is a mode of relieving stress. For instance, social aspects, for instance, viewing slim bodies as appealing, have a significant impact on young adults, resulting in unhealthy eating patterns. For example, a significant portion of the populace self-induce vomiting after food consumption while other individuals avoid eating for weight reduction purposes is an unhealthy eating practice.
Role of Healthcare Providers
Healthcare practitioners play a vital part in healthcare. Their key role in guaranteeing that their medical practice and patient care are contemplative of their ambitions regarding enhanced healthcare and patient care or additional healthcare services that correspond to their patients’ diverse healthcare requirements. It is vital to research and evaluate how the dietary practices are tied to their cultural systems, beliefs, and values when dealing with persons originating from diverse backgrounds. As a result, health practitioners would strategize ways of realigning their nursing practices to gratify the patients’ needs, including sensitization on diet practices and patient care. Comprehending their culture and belief systems pertaining to consumption and choices, healthcare practitioners can motivate patients to take up meals that enhance their health, such as fruits and vegetables.
Eating disarrays such as fatness and other food-related prolonged ailments are the most common healthcare apprehensions for numerous healthcare practitioners. African American culture, to a larger point, is a principal contributor to the healthcare problems. Therefore, it is important that health care practitioners play a vital part in providing care for persons with high-risk dietary practices, for instance, poor food selections and restricting cultural consumption beliefs. Healthcare practitioners may also provide care for persons with high-risk dietary practices from the African American culture by considering their socioeconomic positions and shaping people’s feeding patterns. In turn, this would assist in developing more efficient health prevention approaches for the African American populace.
The crucial role of the healthcare practitioners is to guarantee healthy weight among the populace primarily. This is mainly attributed to the fact that most American citizens are obese, therefore increasing hypertension and heart failure cases. Moreover, healthcare practitioners ought to introduce rehabilitation programs to assist the population in coping with anxiety and regulating the constant alcohol and drug abuse. Because young kids are constantly affected by unhealthy meals, learning institutions and parents ought to be supplied with foods containing a high nutritious value. Training schedules should also be introduced as a safe and healthy mode of ensuring weight loss. Lastly, households ought to be educated on the significance of consuming healthy meals as it may impact the dietary lifestyle of generations in the future.
Culture is an essential part of healthy dietary behavior as it describes the standards and beliefs that impact diet selections. However, healthcare practitioners must understand that high-risk dietary attitudes described by the culture of history are not the patients’ faults. Healthcare practitioners may enhance the situation by offering the required training, initiating programs against abuse of drugs, and varying family roles and approaches. It is vital to alter their dietary practices but also preserve their cultural principles.
Daviglus, M.L., Talavera, G.A., Avilés-Santa, M.L., Allison, M., Cai, J., Criqui, M.H., Gellman, M., Giachello, A.L., Gouskova, N., Kaplan, R.C., LaVange, L., Penedo, F., Perreira, K., Pirzada, A., Schneiderman, N., Wassertheil-Smoller, S., Sorlie, P.D., Stamler, J. (2012). Prevalence of major cardiovascular risk factors and cardiovascular diseases among Hispanic/Latino individuals of diverse backgrounds in the United States. The Journal of the American Medical Association, 308(17), 1775-1784.
Merrick, J., & Israeli, S. (2014). Food, nutrition, and eating behavior. New York, N.Y: Nova Science Publishers.
Reddy, S., & Anitha, M. (2015). Culture and its influence on nutrition and oral health. Biomedical & Pharmacology Journal, 8(SpecialOct), 613. Retrieved from: http://biomedpharmajournal.org/vol8octoberspledition/culture-and-its-influence-on-nutritionand- oral-health/
Siega-Riz, A.M., Sotres-Alvarez, D., Ayala, G., Ginsberg, M., Himes, J.H., Liu, K., Loria, C.M., Yasmin, M.S., Rock, C.L., Rodriguez, B., Gellman, M.D. & Van Horn, L. (2014). Foodgroup and nutrient-density intakes by Hispanic and Latino backgrounds in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 308(6), 1487-1498.
Skala, K., Chuang, R.J., Evans, A., Hedberg, A.M, Dave, J. & Sharma, S. (2012). Ethnic differences in the home food environment and parental food practices among families of low-income Hispanic and African American preschoolers. The Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 14(6), 1014-1022.