Cultural And Value Beliefs Of Nutrition In Regards To African American

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Cultural and Value Beliefs of Nutrition in Regards to African American

Cultural and Value Beliefs of Nutrition in Regards to African American


As nutrition professionals, one of our greatest strengths is our ability to establish rapport with clients when providing education. We can complement this strength by understanding the influence of culture on health care practices(American Diabetes Association, 2011). By integrating cultural constructs into diabetes care and education, we may improve diabetes outcomes and better satisfy clients. The development of cultural competence is thus essential for every health care provider. African Americans suffer disproportionately from higher rates of diet related chronic diseases compared to other ethnicities. Cardiovascular disease affects more African Americans in terms of incidence, prevalence, and mortality in comparison to White and Hispanic populations. African Americans are more likely to suffer from stroke, high blood pressure, and coronary heart diseases and are more likely to die from CVD complications compared to White and Hispanic populations (Ingram, 2011).


To effectively encourage clients to make healthier food choices and improve health outcomes, we must understand the food habits, preferences, and practices (eg, holidays, celebrations, and fasting) of the ethnic and racial groups we treat(Makela, 2012). The result: clients feel that they have been understood and that we respect their beliefs, behaviors, and values. Cultural competence has been described as a set of congruent attitudes, behaviors, and policies. Situated in a system or agency, or among integrated patterns of human behavior, cultural competence constructs include understanding the language, thoughts, communications, actions, customs, beliefs, values, and institutions of ethnic, racial, religious, or social groups(Barer, 2010).

Health disparities among African American are among the highest of all minority groups in the United States. They are also reported to have the highest morbidity and premature mortality rates in the nation. A major contributor to chronic diseases and premature deaths among African American women is the high prevalence of overweight status and obesity because this group has the highest rates of overweight status and obesity compared to other ethnicities. Cultural plays an integral role in the day to day lives of African American which influences all aspect of their existence.

The need for cultural competency is frequently discussed on the level of the patient-clinician interaction. (The term clinician as used in this article encompasses physicians, nurses, and other health professionals.) However, most health care is now delivered by clinicians who are part of groups or systems. These clinicians will become culturally competent only with the support and/or encouragement of the health systems in which they participate. Furthermore, cultural competency must be addressed by health systems if it is to become institutionalized. Much of the cultural competency literature discusses the importance of cultural awareness, knowledge, attitudes, and skills but does not describe how a health system is supposed to become culturally competent.

Case Study

L.M is a 45 year old African-American female who is recovering from a CVA she experienced a year earlier. She is recently divorced and currently in the process of a legal battle for the custody of ...
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