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Biological & Biomedical Sciences
English (U.S.)
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How Beliefs Affect The Health Choices That Hispanics Make (Essay Sample)


It describes how beliefs affect the health choices that hispanics make.


Relationships and Expectations among American Hispanics
Relationships and Expectations among American Hispanics
In the PEN3 cultural model, relationships and expectations is the second of the three domains; the others being cultural identity and cultural empowerment. The “PEN” under relationships and expectation is formed by the components: Perceptions, Enablers and Nurturers (Iwelunmor et al, 2014). Among the Hispanics living in the United States, this second “PEN” domain is a major determinant of how individuals interact with initiatives meant to promote health among them. The Hispanics are characterized by closely knit families and groups with a strong sense of identity among them (Lindberg et al, 2013). They therefore tend to strongly influence each other’s behavior and worldview towards many things, including healthcare.
One major health problem among the Hispanics is obesity which is the 4th leading cause of death among the group, while it is only the 6th leading cause of death in the United States in general (Melancon et al, 2009). The impact of each of the PEN elements in determining their behavior towards healthcare interventions aimed at obesity are discussed below.
There are strong perceptions among most of the Hispanic groups about good food, enough food, bad food, food that should be eaten during pregnancy, food that should be consumed at different times of the day, and healthy food (Lindberg et al, 2013). These perceptions are shaped by communal beliefs, mainly passed down from parents, especially mothers, to their children. Many Hispanics who arrive in the US for instance, expect to have good food, and plenty of it, as part of achieving the American dream.
These views strongly contrast at times with the information that nutritionists try to impart on them. The Hispanic groups are many and their beliefs do vary, but the problem of obesity among them is common (Lindberg et al, 2013). There is therefore the danger that healthcare practitioners sometimes assume that they have universal beliefs about food and their health, but this is sometimes not the case. It is thus important to isolate the different beliefs among the different groups, rather than try to apply one blanket solution (Iwelunmor et al, 2014).
Generally, Hispanics do not practice the isolationist lifestyle preferred by most Americans. They tend to have certain people they revere in society more than the American healthcare providers. These people shape their opinion, even more than the trained health specialists. They can thus be used to shape opinion on health positively when they are trained. Otherwise, they tend to undo what has been done by the health practitioners.
The role of spirituality is also important among the groups. Teaching about healthcare outside the context of religious beliefs is generally ineffective (Lindberg et al, 2013). There are certain religious activities carried out using certain foods which may contribute to obesity. On the contrary, there are traditional herbs that help to reduce obesity. All these aspects should be explored in tackling the condition.
The main nurturers of obesity among Hispanics are family meals, salt and alcohol. There is a strong emphasis on taking family meals together regardless of whether one wishes to eat or not (Melancon et al, 2009). This coupled wi...
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