BlessWorld Foundation International

Affecting the World Through Health
A Global Health Initiative

Health and Culture



In the simplest form, culture may be defined as a people’s way of life; it includes the norms, values and beliefs of a particular group of people which govern their behaviors and attitudes. As we already know of many different factors, our culture or way of life can influence our health. Culture affects health in that what we believe and our way of life can hinder or promote our access to healthcare services, compliance to drugs and treatment regimen, the way we treat our bodies, the heath choices we make, our readiness to seek help and even our willingness to recover from an illness.

Various ethnic groups have their own perspectives, belief systems and values that help them understand what causes illness, how it should be treated, and who or what should be involved in the treatment process. Many times, these views about health differ from the western views and may create barriers between patients and providers from different cultural backgrounds. Culture and diversity are very important in all areas healthcare, so, it is essential for health educators and professionals to understand how the culture of their respective audience and patients may influence their attitude towards health.

In closing, if our way of life or what we believe can affect our health, then it has the potential to create poor health outcomes and health disparities. It is therefore our responsibility to find out any cultural practice, value or belief that limits our potential for optimal health and get rid of it. I must say… if it doesn’t help you, it probably hurts you!

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