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Effects of Culture on Health

Hispania is an ethnic group in the United States of America. This group is among the most rapidly growing ethnic groups in the United States. Initially, the term Hispanic referred to the relationship between Portugal and Spain (Torres, 2009). This ethnic group uses the Spanish mother tongue, which is the world’s second most popular language after Chinese. Most of the Hispania people are universal blood-donors with blood type 0, which is a significant health condition for medics. The majority of the Hispanics are Latin American inhabitants. Hispanic cultural heritage is celebrated starting September 15 every year coinciding with the anniversary of independence achievement for most Latin American countries. Hispanics have a well-developed social arrangement based on nuclear families and religion, as most of them are Roman Catholics (Sanjur, 2005). Over the years, the education level of Hispanics has risen steadily.

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Over the years, diseases have been understood to emanate from lack of humoral balance causing the body to be hot, cold, dry, and wet or, even a combination of all these conditions. Foods that are generally classified as hot, cold, dry or wet are used in the body to restore the body to its right humoral balance. The hot or cold condition in the body is treated with a contrasting state. Cold illnesses are treated using hot foods whilst hot illnesses are corrected using cold foods. People of different backgrounds have diverse beliefs concerning the hot-cold theory and this is a major hindrance to nursing. The hot and cold theory upholds and prohibits some foods, and this may not be favorable to some people due to their social, economic, or religious affiliations. Treatment regimens that contravene patients’ beliefs are often futile, as the patient may not uphold them. In the development of good treatment methods, a medic should put into consideration the beliefs of the patient. For instance, ulcers’ treatment recommends bland diets, which prohibit hot land foods. In another example, lactating mothers who are advised to feed their infants on hot milk prefer cold foods because the “hot milk is associated with rashes on infants” (Sanjur, 2005).

Spiritual healers are very well venerated, as they are believed to influence people’s health directly. They are a symbol of a supreme being to which the society relies on and trusts with certain principles such as sanctity of human life. The healers are important when caring for creation that empowers the society and creates awareness on healthy lifestyles. In its introductory stages, the Roman Catholic religion annulled the belief that certain health conditions were caused by people with ‘evil eyes’ as it had been the belief all along. This belief caused panic especially among young families but after the influence of the church on such and other issues, the community began to realize that some of these were health issues that could be treated thus relieving the panic of the inhabitants (Sabogal, Marín & Perez-Stable, 2007). The role of the religious leader gave an upper hand to medical practitioners unlike in the past where such cases were ignored under the belief that the affected people could not be treated. In these types of situations, it is necessary for a nurse to understand the religious background of the patient in order to avoid disregarding him/her altogether.

It is evident that as much as health care is crucial to one’s life, other cultural aspects must be put into consideration to ensure coherence of practices. Personal beliefs, ideas, and religion are major factors when it comes to the success of health care. Comprehensive interaction must be maintained between the nurse and patients in regard to cultural affiliation.


Sabogal, F., Marín, G., & Perez-Stable, E. J. (2007). Hispanic familism and acculturation: What changes and what doesn’t? Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 9(4), 397-412.

Sanjur, D. (2005). Hispanic food, ways, nutrition, and health. Needham, Mass: Allyn and Bacon.

Torres, S. (2009). Hispanic voices. London: Jones and Bartlett publishers.

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