Essay on High-Risk Nutritional Practices

Published: 2021/11/12
Number of words: 2710


Nutritional practices have diversified over the decades all over the world. Modernization has greatly influenced healthy behaviors, although cultural practices have been used to determine the dietary patterns of people worldwide. There has been a change in several components of daily living, such as a change in the food taste, food preferences, and nutritional practices. Foods such as eggs, meat, and milk were common foodstuffs among different cultures, but today, health care providers are advising against the intake of such foods, which previously caused no harm. These foods are associated with various diseases.

A distinctive eating habit distinguishes each culture, and as a result, culture and nutrition are linked to several variables. It is widely acknowledged that nutritional habits have a significant effect on people’s health and that it is one of the culturally intertwined areas. Most cultures have dietary habits that are beneficial to health; nevertheless, other cultures have high-risk behaviors and may have a detrimental impact on an individual’s overall health (Singh et al., 2020). Traditions of nutrition are often linked with historical views and cultural belief systems in a specific society. The purpose of this article is to examine high-risk dietary practices of chosen cultures, including the high-risk nutritional habits, belief systems, historical attitudes, and other variables that affect the behavior of the cultures discussed in this paper.

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The American Culture

The American culture is a culture that is associated with the consumption of junk foods, alcohol consumption, smoking, and overeating. The American people are usually associated with the invention and consumption of fast foods. They tend to consume packaged food than fresh food. According to studies, there is the consumption of more than ten billion donuts in the US per year. Most American foods are usually consumed in the car, and Americans spend over ten percent of their disposable income on fast foods every year.

Historical Perspectives and Belief Systems That Influence the High-Risk Nutritional Behaviors

Several factors lead to the above nutritional practices, but no historical perspectives or belief systems influence these practices. Studies say that the causes and impacts of these risky nutritional behaviors include but are not limited to; education, technology, availability, social systems, and family roles. In the past, children used to eat fresh foods prepared from home; in recent years, they tend to eat foods prepared away from home, and these foods are junk foods that are not dietary balanced. There has been increased unavailability of the parents to prepare fresh foods that are healthy and beneficial to their bodies. This has resulted from technological advancements and social pressure to maintain a certain standard of living and increased living costs. Parents became overwhelmed by these responsibilities, and there was the need for inventive minds to formulate ways in which less time would be used in food preparation and increase the working time. This resulted in the invention of fast foods centers where people order foods high in fats and thus lead to conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart conditions. People have invested so much in education due to society’s expectations, and they do not have time to take care of their bodies; they find themselves buying junk foods (Vilar‐Compte et al., 2021).

Alcohol consumption, overeating, and smoking is a common practice among people of the American culture. Lifestyle-related factors are the major causes of these risky behaviors; these practices may have a historical perspective and system belief. Some individuals participate in these activities due to their stressful lives, including stress at work and home. People in the United States have traditionally believed that smoking and drinking alcohol may alleviate stress and avoid overthinking. The availability of junk foods typically causes overeating, and some individuals eat when they are anxious to pass the time while they are stressed. As a result, they consume more calories than their bodies need. The nutritional behaviors embraced by the American culture have made them vulnerable to obesity, cancer, diabetes, liver diseases, and heart disorders (Shinde et al., 2017).

The Role of The Health Care Providers in Caring for Individuals with High-Risk Behaviors in The American Culture

There has been an increased concern over the cause of various degenerative diseases and increased demand for information regarding diet and its relationship to these diseases. Health care providers are mandated to educate the public by providing information about the impacts of poor diet on their health. They should also investigate the foods causing these diseases, modeling and formulating strategies to supplement the already available habits, and advising the public on the proper diet to consume to lead healthy lives (Bush et al., 2020).

The health care providers should act as role models to the public and the patients. This role provides dietary information and advice based on personal experiences that may improve their nutritional habits. Health care professionals can formulate programs to improve nutrition among the population. These programs may include providing School Feeding Programs, Women, Infants, And Children Program (WIC), School Meals, and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, And Children. These programs help the population attain the best nutritional health status.

The American Somalis Culture

The Somali community in the United States has a culture that is linked with high-risk dietary habits. Their religious beliefs influence their nutritional habits. Since the majority of Somalis are Muslims, their diet is dictated by the precepts of their religion. They categorize foods into two categories: haram and halal. The latter category contains foods and beverages that are not permitted for consumption, while the former includes foods and beverages allowed for consumption.

Fasting is also practiced by Muslims, as required by their religious beliefs. Excessive sweets and sweeteners in meals and beverages, deep-frying, and overconsumption of foods high in carbs and red meat are only a few of the high-risk dietary habits associated with Muslim culture. It is strongly prohibited in their faith; therefore, they abstain from using alcoholic beverages. This is a fantastic nutritious habit to engage in.

Historical Perspectives and Belief Systems That Influence the High-Risk Nutritional Behaviors Among the American Somalis

Their assumption and belief influence the high-risk behaviors of the American-Muslim that being overweight and obese is healthy. The Somalis’ do not have a categorized group of foods to be called junk. They believe that as long as the food is halal, it is eligible and suitable to be consumed. Their meal is always endowed with red meat. They consider vegetables as side dishes; they are not aware of the effects of overeating red meat and the benefits of consuming vegetables. The Somali people also habit feeding their young ones camel milk to supplement the mother’s milk. Sometimes, they consider the camels’ milk and fail to recognize the importance of the mother’s milk to the growing child. They attribute the strength of the camel’s milk to the tallest person in the community and say it is as a result of drinking camel milk. It is a requirement for every Muslim Somali to fast from dawn to dusk during every ninth month of the Muslim calendar. It is a requirement by their religion that they fast and thus have been passed through generations (Adekunle et al., 2021). By consuming foods and drinks with too much sugar and sweeteners, they risk their dental health, encouraging cavities in their teeth. Intake of more than the required sugars in the body can also result in an oversupply of calories leading to weight gain and predisposes a person to chronic conditions such as diabetes, type 2, and heart diseases.

The diet of the Somali people has too much red meat since they do not supplement it with white meat; therefore, there is a possibility that they consume red meat in excess. Consumption of red meat in excess is dangerous for one’s health. Red meat is high in cholesterol, saturated fats, and sodium and thus should be taken in considerable amounts. Excessive consumption of red meat has been associated with diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and colorectal cancer.

The Role of The Health Care Providers in Caring for Individuals with High-Risk Behaviors in The American-Somalis Culture

The health care providers should be aware of the cultural practices of the Somali American culture. This culture is not easily influenced or dominated by other cultural practices and is very strict and firm. Therefore, the health care provider should first recognize their cultural and religious beliefs before intervening. The health care provider should act as the advisor to the community. Advise the mothers on the importance of breastfeeding their infants until they reach about two years. The healthcare providers should formulate programs to educate the American-Somali community members on the importance of having vegetables in their diet and limiting red meat intake, highlighting the implications of its intake.

The Japanese Culture

Several high-risk dietary habits are prevalent in Japanese society. It was customary for them to treat health problems via food and plant medicine. Their dietary habits were governed by a set of principles, behaviors, and ideas about food that they held dear. Additionally, their culture had dietary taboos, which defined foods permitted to be consumed and those that were not. The Japanese dishes are majorly based on carbohydrates. They practice Buddhism, and this religion led to the ban of meat consumption, which led to the rise of sushi (raw fish with rice). Many individuals became vegetarians due to this prohibition, and simple cooking methods were developed as a result. The Meiji era (1868-1912) saw the lifting of the meat prohibition after some time, during which time the ban was in effect. Western cuisine such as coffee, bread, and ice cream were more popular in the late twenties. They have been affected by the advent of new foods, such as quick noodles, which significantly affected their dietary habits and nutritional patterns.

Historical Perspectives and Belief Systems that Influence High-Risk Nutritional Behaviors in the Japanese Culture

The belief system mainly influences Japanese nutritional behaviors. The historical perspective of the Japanese is that of alcohol abuse. Japan is a nation with many alcohol producers; therefore, they say that consuming what they produce is not considered a problem by society. They perceive drinking as fun and stress-relieving to relate with peers, which leads to addiction and health complications related to alcohol abuse. Their primary foods are rice and noodles. These foods are carbohydrates and are not a balanced diet. They are risky nutritional behaviors because they do not complement all the nutrients required by the body. The Japanese have a deficit of protein in their diet, which may result in malnutrition cases. The foods they consume have high calories of carbohydrates, which may lead to health problems such as diabetes. Most Japanese food is low in fat and high in sodium. A high sodium diet directly affects the cardiovascular system leading to heart failure, stroke, and heart diseases. Japanese food primarily consists of rice, wheat, fish, and soy. These foods lack essential nutrients found in nuts and cereals. Due to the lack of whole-grain foods in Japanese cuisine, there are very many cases of high blood pressure. Because most of their foods are carbohydrates, the Japanese are prone to overeating, which may risk becoming obese and acquiring chronic diseases such as diabetes associated with overweight and obese individuals (Murakami et al., 2017).

The Functions of Health-Care Providers in the Care of Individuals with High-Risk Behaviors in the Japanese Cultural Setting

The health care provider should identify the gaps in the Japanese culture and keep in mind that these are culture-sensitive people’s advice on the proper nutrition to fill the nutritional deficit present. The health care provider should be very knowledgeable to provide information to the affected population ensuring that their culture is not directly undermined. The health care provider should offer nutritional counseling to the individuals affected and those currently practicing the needing nutrition practice.

The health care provider should be knowledgeable and able to formulate, implement and manage nutrition care systems. After developing the nutrition system, the health care provider should evaluate changing and maintaining necessary quality standards in food and nutrition care services. The health care provider should also provide information to the community on the importance of maintaining a good diet and the consequences of not doing so.

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Briefly said, culture plays an integral part in defining what constitutes good dietary habits. Individuals’ dietary behavior is affected both negatively and positively as a result of this factor. In addition to the behaviors I’ve mentioned, many cultures have some connection to several high-risk dietary habits. The critical thing to remember is that the bad result was not the intended goal of the dietary practice in the first place. Because of a lack of understanding, misinformation, and religious – belief systems, it is essential to note that many cultures do not understand good dietary habits. Because food is a primary source of nourishment, the accessibility of foods affects what is consumed; this is particularly important to note whenever dealing with specific cultures. Someone who comes from the mountains, on the other hand, will have a greater intake of red meat, while someone who comes from a culture that is situated near the ocean would have a higher intake of seafood.

As health care professionals, it is our responsibility to recognize and accept cultural diversity and respect those who practice it while also assisting people in discontinuing high-risk dietary habits and ultimately making the right choices. With the widespread embracing of education among various cultures, the health care providers should educate the students and pupils on the appropriate nutritional practices. This will be reflected in their communities.


Adekunle, B., Filson, G., & Warsame, W. (2021). Food sovereignty: understanding Somali gastronomy. Food, Culture & Society, 1-23.

Bush, C. L., Blumberg, J. B., El-Sohemy, A., Minich, D. M., Ordovás, J. M., Reed, D. G., & Behm, V. A. Y. (2020). Toward the definition of personalized nutrition: a proposal by the American Nutrition Association. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 39(1), 5-15.

Murakami, K., Livingstone, M. B. E., Okubo, H., & Sasaki, S. (2017). Energy density of the diets of Japanese adults in relation to food and nutrient intake and general and abdominal obesity: a cross-sectional analysis from the 2012 National Health and Nutrition Survey, Japan. British Journal of Nutrition, 117(1), 161-169.

Shinde, P., Vyas, K., & Goel, S. (2017). Effects of junk food/fast food study. International. Ayurvedic Medical, 2(1).

Singh, A., Banerjee, P., Anas, M., Singh, N., & Qamar, I. (2020). Traditional nutritional and health practices targeting lifestyle behavioral changes in humans. Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 10(2), 67.

Vilar‐Compte, M., Bustamante, A. V., López‐Olmedo, N., Gaitán‐Rossi, P., Torres, J., Peterson, K. E., … & Pérez‐Escamilla, R. (2021). Migration as a determinant of childhood obesity in the United States and Latin America. Obesity Reviews, 22, e13240.

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