To describe and compare cultural attitudes and approaches to preventing ill health.

Essay by bugalugs1970College, UndergraduateA, September 2009

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'Culture is a way of life; it provides people with an unwritten map of rules for living' (Donnelly: 2005). Cultural backgrounds have an important influence on many aspects of people's lives; these include their beliefs, behaviours and perceptions. Hence, cultural backgrounds, in all societies, play a significant role in determining people's attitudes and approaches to health and illness. This paper will identify three cultural attitudes and approaches to preventing ill health; it will also compare, debate and substantiate the chosen cultural approaches and attitudes through a variety of methods but largely interviews the note text of which can be found in the appendixes; the three chosen cultures are the African Nso', South Korean and British.

The Nso' tribe of the Cameroon, West Africa, consists of around 400,000 people (Seattlepi: 2006). Dominic TanlaKishani, an Nso' tribesman, states that 'African culture is greatly misunderstood' and that "westerners have no real concept of modern African life or traditional African medicine" (TanlaKishani: 2009).

He adds that if African culture is ever to be understood people must first "understand the African psyche" (TanlaKishani: 2009a). Broadly, African culture is entrenched in community kinship and their perspective on health involves a status of psychological, religious and bodily equilibrium. This is principally achievable through maintaining a harmonious coexistence between communal relations, religion and the natural world (Peek, Yankah: 2003). These common interests and shared values bind Africans together. Perhaps the best way in which the Nso' approach to health could be understood is that "things only happen if god allows it" and that "you are only a person because of other people" (TanlaKishani:2009b).

The Nso' do not have a defined approach to preventing ill health; many lead active lives through subsistence farming and enjoy a varied and sumptuous diet of organic foods. This is largely achievable due...