Obesity and diabetes are growing concerns in the United States. Obesity is the condition of which you are excessively fat. Due to food being the cure to infinite amount of emotions, these diseases affect several people which leads to serious health issues or even death at earlier ages. As a solution, there have been obesity and diabetes prevention programs, but what they lack in is how they approach these issues without a culturally sensitive view in order to actually reduce obesity and diabetes in more groups of people.
Our health can be something pretty difficult to keep up with, yet it is extremely vital to be aware of. The percentages of people in the United states that are obese and have diabetes are 36.5% and 9.4% (Ogden 2012). Yet, as shown in studies, these diseases seem to most likely affect minority groups rather than non-hispanic whites. Several of these health programs and organizations strive to reduce obesity and diabetes by creating approaches and practices with all groups of people.While there is a positive outcome for some of these groups of people, there is not a significant difference in others. Due to them generalizing these groups of people or the population, they are targeting the issue without a culturally sensitive view. Which is why they need to provide each group or community with a culturally appropriate and relevant approach to conduct better health practices.
The research done in the article, A weight-loss intervention program designed for Mexican-American women: Cultural adaptations and results, studies by Lindberg et. al used deep structure evidence to prove that not only were basic weight loss practices not successful for hispanic populations, but also why (Lindberg 2012). Stability was a huge factor in the outcome of this research. Residency for immigrant minorities whether they are from Mexico or other Latin American countries, plays a huge role in the growth of obesity and diabetes within the Hispanic communities. Mexico is the closest country to the US, yet it has such a drastic difference in food availability and diet. Due to it being closer for Latin American immigrants to come to the US, they experience a huge change all around; culture, food and health practices. They are the first generation and have a far more difficult time adjusting to the practices as where minorities of African descendancy that have stayed in the US for generations. The data shows that the longer they stay, there is an increase in poor health practices and behavior with a four-time risk of obesity with every fifteen years of residency (Lindberg, 2003).
While most people are encouraged to just buy healthier foods, which is a very valuable and effective solution for many people, it is not always possible for everyone to do so. Whether it be them actually purchasing healthier foods at a much higher price or simply not having the capability of distinguishing healthy foods based off of their culture. Low income groups or communities have difficulties losing weight due to limitations in space, membership, and food availability (Warin, 2008) . Hence why it is so vital to implement cultural relevance to obesity and diabetes prevention programs in order to be able to reach out to each group in a way that best makes sense for them to implement those different habits into their daily lives.
There are healthy diets or different types of exercises whether it be a bit of cardio every day or intense lifting. Sadly, not everyone is able to turn to these options in order to solve their health problems due to their circumstances. According to the research done in the article Bodies, Mothers and Identities: Rethinking Obesity and the BMI, research shows that depending on one’s personal identity, there is a different approach to health initiatives. Viewing obesity with a mother’s perspective shows how they perceive their own health as a mother. “Mothers find it difficult to act on health initiatives because they put themselves as a low priority (Waring, 2008). They find it almost impossible to exercise due to their young children or work taking priority in their life which then refrains them from being able to have that time to focus on themselves. Researchers also found that being ‘chubby or cuddly’ is a positive thing when being a mother as where anywhere else it is considered negative. Also the use of the word ‘obesity’ and its meaning was found to have a much more negative use when talking about women rather than men. Mothers are not capable to quickly self identify as obese due to their understanding of it being healthy or normal for a mother to be ‘cuddly or chubby’.
The same idea was discussed in a report that explains how self reporting weight is not reliable and inaccurate due to people underestimating the reality of obesity and being overweight. The report establishes a similar message on how people do view themselves in similar ways; mothers to non mothers or women to men. There is a conflict on whether people should stick numerical measures health and wellness or to implement cultural views and perceptions on health (Flood et. al 2000).
Yet, through all of these reports, there has been little attention to defining the cultural relevance in the health sector. Although many researchers investigate ways to be culturally relevant to reduce obesity and diabetes, they lack in actually explaining what they mean by cultural relevance or culturally sensitive. In the article, Cultural sensitivity in public health: defined and demystified, Reniscow defines the term culturally sensitive in both surface and deep structures. Surface structure refers to the superficial characteristics of a targeted population using people, music, language and food as ways to fit within a specific culture. Deep structure addresses the cultural, social, environmental, historical and psychological factors that affect a group’s behavior and health (Reniscow et. al 1999). This research allows us to push past the surface structures that are most commonly used in health practices in order to actually relate to different cultures.
The research done in the article, A weight-loss intervention program designed for Mexican-American women: Cultural adaptations and results, studies by Lindberg et. al used deep structure evidence to prove that not only were basic weight loss practices not successful for hispanic populations, but also why (Lindberg 2012). Stability was a huge factor in the outcome of this research. Residency for immigrant minorities.
A solution to allow these programs to find success in reducing obesity and diabetes in minority groups they have to target a specific group or population. This should then allow program creators to learn about their association with food and then develop a strategy that is best fitting based off of their cultural values and customs.
Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Kit BK, Flegal KM. Prevalence of Childhood and Adult Obesity in the United States, 2011-2012. JAMA. 2014;311(8):806–814. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.732
Warin, Megan, et al. “Bodies, Mothers and Identities: Rethinking Obesity and the BMI.” Sociology of Health & Illness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd (10.1111), 30 Aug. 2007, onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/j.1467-9566.2007.01029.x.
Flood, Victoria, et al. “Use of Self‐Report to Monitor Overweight and Obesity in Populations: Some Issues for Consideration.” Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd (10.1111), 25 Sept. 2007, onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/j.1467-842X.2000.tb00733.x.
Resnicow, Ken et al. “Cultural sensitivity in public health: defined and demystified.” Ethnicity & disease 9 1 (1999): 10-21 .
Lindberg, Nangel M et al. “A weight-loss intervention program designed for Mexican-American women: cultural adaptations and results.” Journal of immigrant and minority health vol. 14,6 (2012): 1030-9. doi:10.1007/s10903-012-9616-4