Sections: cultural identity, culturally sensitive, dieting programs, health promotion program, health treatment, Healthy Lifestyle, local culture, Medical Knowledge, treatment programs, weight loss programs, weight management
Documented in Treatments
Health treatment has to be concerned with the operation of medical knowledge with the context of local cultures and customs. The example of attitudes to weight can also be transferred to attitudes to health treatment. I once watched a rather harrowing program about a remote tribe that was feeding on coconut for the majority of their diet.
They used the coconut in every single dish that they could get away with and there was concern that this was going to cause them health problems in the future. As the things turned out there was a high incidence of obesity and heart failure within that community.
Consequently the people that were leading it decided to take the matters in hand and start to build some health promotion programs. They completely transformed the community and the way that they ate. If health treatment programs took this approach then we would have fewer problems.
The issue brought into focus some old colonial tensions whereby it was felt that the western way of life was being imposed on a poor community in a rather patronizing stance that made them out to be helpless people that could not look after their own health.
Understandably there was a lot of resentment about the way that the project had been conceived and the broadcast in its entirety was slammed for being too patronizing to the people that were being discussed. It was felt that the dieting programs had to take into account the unique culture in that area. There are certain groups of people that will resist health treatment programs on the basis that they do not respect their cultural identities.
It is good to have a healthy lifestyle and to lose weight whenever you want to but it is also important to have some respect for your culture. The conflict comes about when the culture is advocating a diet that is totally alien to the way that you are used to working. This can be a very frightening experience and you could end up setting up a resistance against the weight loss programs that have been proposed for you in the longer term. You would feel that there is an attack on your culture through the weight loss program. That is why you should ensure that the health treatment program that you embark upon is culturally sensitive.
People that ignore cultural context in health treatment are bound to fail. That is why you have to work hard to find solutions to your weight loss problems based on the culture in which you were born. You look around at the different stales that are available and then decide the ones that you are going to enjoy in order to lose weight.
That way you can keep your traditions yet maintain a healthy lifestyle. It is not very difficult to adjust the way that you eat if you retain the culture elements that make food enjoyable for your people. The weight loss program is not about dictatorship but compromise.