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Sample Essay on Health in Western World and Cultural Traditions

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Sample Essay on Health in Western World and Cultural Traditions

Group 1

Health and illness among the African-Americans

The genetic makeup of the African Americans makes them more susceptible to some illnesses compared to other ethnic groups. The ethnic group is more vulnerable to heart disease compared to other ethnic groups in the society. About 26% of the population succumbs to the illness annually.

            The main similarity between the ethnic group and other races in the country is that they appreciate modern medical care, which is believed to be a way of enhancing the well-being of the individuals (Flegal et al., 2010).However, the main difference is that the older generation of the African-Americans opts not to seek medical attention due to past experiences of slavery.

            The traditional methods of healing among the blacks differ across their communities due to their interaction with other ethnic groups. For the Hispanic blacks, healing was taught to the new generations periodically as the part of the development process. The community mainly used herbs in treating illnesses and they were mainly administered by women. For the African-Americans, the healing process also involved herbalists and it also incorporated spirituality and divine power possessed by the medicine men.

            Currently, the population is faced with a lot of healthcare issues due to poor socioeconomic status that denies them a chance to access the required medical attention. The low level of education among the population has led to healthcare challenges as they are unable to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Most of the illnesses that are associated with the ethnic group currently include hypertension. Diabetes is also a major illness among the ethnic group, because they have 1.5 probability of contracting the illness compared to the whites (Alegría et al., 2015).

Group 2
Health and illness among the Asian population

            The health status of the Asian American population in the Western nations differs from other ethnic groups mainly due to their genetic makeup. The ethnic group is twice as likely to suffer from liver and stomach cancers compared to other groups. Other illnesses that are associated with the ethnic community include osteoporosis and hepatitis B (Lloyd-Jones et al., 2010).

            The major similarity of the Asian Americans and other ethnic communities is that their willingness to seek medical attention is defined by their cultural and social norms. The main difference however, is that the Asian Americans and other Western communities relates to the causes of different illnesses. While the Western medicine views illnesses as factors that break down the body, the Asian Americans believe that illnesses are a mechanism of balancing the spiritual and natural environment.

            One of the Asian Americans communities that have a unique traditional method of treating the sick is the Chinese who use acupuncture to treat painful illnesses. The practice is believed to improve the functioning of natural painkillers in the body, thus leading to quick recovery. The Indians is another ethnic group in the Asian American community that uses herbal remedies in treating illnesses such as malaria and jaundice.

            Currently, the main issue with the health care among the Asians living in America is genetics. The Asians are more susceptible to illnesses such as liver and stomach cancer as well as diabetes. In 2013, the leading cause of death among the Asian population was chronic disease, especially among the Pacific Islanders aged between 20 to 50 years (Alegría et al., 2015). During the same year, the incidence rate of liver cancer among the women in the ethnic group was 2.5 higher than other communities (Alegría et al., 2015).

Group 3
Health and illness among the Hispanic populations

            Chronic liver disease and diabetes are among the illnesses suffered by the Hispanics in America (Rumbaut, Escarce & Morales, 2006). Individuals from the ethnic groups are 50% more likely to suffer from the illnesses compared to the whites (Flegal et al., 2010). The population has a 23% more likelihood of developing obesity compared to the non-Hispanics (Flegal et al., 2010). However, although the population has a higher susceptibility to some illnesses, they have a lower mortality rate compared to the non-Hispanics.

            The main similarity between the Hispanics and other communities in relation to beliefs in health and illnesses is that they believe in treatment of illnesses that they encounter. The Western communities believe in using medicine to treat illnesses and so does the Hispanic ethnic group. However, the main difference is the type of medicine used in the treatment. While the Western culture believes in the use of scientific methods of treatments, the Hispanics believe in both scientific and traditional methods of treatment.

            The traditional methods of healing among the Mexican Americans entailed the use of therapies to treat different illnesses including abdominal pain and posttraumatic disorders. The Cuban Americans on the other hand have their healing beliefs based on West African culture. They used herbs from plants believed to have medicinal value as well as castor oil. The ethnic community also used spiritual leaders to communicate with the gods when they did not understand the cause or cure of an illness.

            Currently, the Hispanic populations are faced with healthcare challenges, mainly related to their weak economic status. Unlike the whites who are able to secure well-paying jobs, most of the Hispanics are poor because they are unable to secure good jobs. The population still faces a lot of healthcare complications due to illnesses such as diabetes and liver diseases, but they have low mortality rate.   

















Alegría, M., Chatterji, P., Wells, K., Cao, Z., Chen, C. N., Takeuchi, D., … & Meng, X. L.            (2015). Disparity in depression treatment among racial and ethnic minority     populations in the United States. Psychiatric services.

Flegal, K. M., Carroll, M. D., Ogden, C. L., & Curtin, L. R. (2010). Prevalence and trends in        obesity among US adults, 1999-2008. Jama303(3), 235-241.

Lloyd-Jones, D., Adams, R. J., Brown, T. M., Carnethon, M., Dai, S., De Simone, G., … &           Go, A. (2010). Heart disease and stroke statistics—2010 update A report from the             American Heart Association. Circulation121(7), e46-e215.

Rumbaut, R. G., Escarce, J., & Morales, L. (2006). The health status and health behaviors of             Hispanics. Hispanics and the future of America, 362-409.

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