Culture, Health and Illness

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Merriam-Webster defines culture as a “set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices. ” If one were to think about culture, one would find that it determines whether certain practices or ideas would or would not be integrated into it. Hence, culture may either facilitate or inhibit health education efforts. Culture may include “ideas, beliefs, customs, taboos” (Layiwola, 1998). With that point in mind, if certain points in a belief system or religion would contradict a health concept being promoted or attempts at health education, then it may hinder awareness on the point in question.

For example, there is the case of the Reproductive Health Bill in the Philippines where the church is against the bill as “many of proposed tenets go against the teaching of the Church on moral grounds” (Hibionada, 2008). Because of the great influence of the church in the Philippines, progress with the said bill is slow and the issue of health is unfairly questioned for its morality. However, there are also cultures that promote health education.

Kirsten (2007) states that “some of the best research and most innovative programs with regard to health promotion and wellness come out of the U. S. ” This may be attributed to the more open-minded population. As the U. S. is a melting pot of various influences and cultures, it has been made to be open and values respect of different views. Hence, pushing for increased awareness is not as difficult as it would be for a population with a dominating belief against a certain health notion. Culture, indeed, may make or break attempts to increase awareness on health issues.

However, such discussion on culture and health by no means attempts to criticize any beliefs or other facets of culture. It is only good to note that when it comes to certain ideas or propositions of health, not every culture may be so accepting and it is up to each population belonging to a certain culture to resolve the balance of considering health and culture. References: • Culture (n. d. ). Merriam-Webster Online. Retrieved July 19, 2010, from http://www. merriam-webster. com/dictionary/culture • Hibionada, F. (2008).

Church’s anti-Reproductive Health Bill stance persists. Retrieved July 19, 2010 from http://www. thenewstoday. info/2008/09/09/churchs. anti. reproductive. health. bill. stance. persists. html • Kirsten, W. (2007). The Impact of Culture on Health Behaviors. Wellness Management. 21(4). 1 Retrieved from http://www. iirme. com/Global/IIRME/Conferences/pdf/… /TheImpactofCulture. pdf • Layiwola, M. (1998). Our Culture and our Health: The Way Forward into the Future. Retrieved July 19, 2010, from http://www. okonfo. com/adeoti,htm

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