Obesity is a topical issue of the 21st century as it becomes more widespread across nations and communities. From the standpoint of healthcare, it entails a range of conditions, which negatively influence one’s body. Despite significant efforts on behalf of public health workers, obesity rates continue to increase. The issue becomes particularly relevant in Hispanic communities, where its incidence sometimes attains critical levels. Hispanic people live in a particular context, which influences their perception of this issue, prompting them to neglect its health-related consequences. Their relationship framework is characterized by shared negative expectations of the public health system, in general, preventing these people from seeking quality medical advice concerning obesity. The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationships and expectations of the Hispanic population within the framework of the PEN-3 model’s cultural identity domain.
Relationships and Expectations
Personal views and beliefs are highly important in forming one’s attitude toward the public health system. The issue of high obesity rates among members of Hispanic communities stems from several culturally determining factors, including the significant role of food (Ochoa & Berge, 2017). While certain eating habits contribute to the initial development of this alarming condition, it is possible to reduce its negative impact by acknowledging the issue and addressing it in due course. One can attain this objective by accepting the recommendations of public health specialists and seeking quality treatment. Nevertheless, one may have a negative personal view of the system, in general, which makes them disregard the problem. Brown, Vasquez, Salinas, Tang, and Balcázar (2018) state that there is a range of health service disparities preventing the Hispanic population from receiving proper treatment, including the unequal distribution of financial and professional opportunities. If a person has had a negative experience with the public health system before, they are naturally less likely to seek intervention or accept the specialists’ recommendations.
The negative perception of the public health system leads to a situation in which individuals avoid professional help, ignoring medical advice on obesity prevention and treatment. Family relationships inevitably outweigh the ones, which exist between Hispanic people and elements of the public health system, which leads to them ignoring medical advice in the context of obesity and a healthier lifestyle due to a lack of trust. Heitkamp and Gunderman (2021) write that members of Hispanic communities, in general, have tense, alarmed relationships with medical professionals. In some cases, the nature of such an attitude is conditioned by certain racial disparities. Statistics state that Hispanic people are less likely to complete formal education (Soto Mas, Jacobson, & Olivàrez, 2017). Culturally unaware clinical specialists fail to adjust their communicative techniques in such situations, leading to the interaction being intimidating due to a lack of understanding and a prevalence of complicated medical terms. The discomfort translates into a commonly negative attitude within Hispanic communities, which aggravates the issue of obesity among their members.
Continuously negative experience with the public health system becomes the primary nurturer of the obesity issues within the Hispanic population. At the same time, external influence is not limited to one’s family members. Members of the discussed social group tend to live in close-knit communities, in which such perceptions are shared, contributing to the problem’s development. According to Gonzalez and Méndez-Pounds (2018), Hispanic people make considerable effort to assimilate within the American cultural space, but family values and opinions remain their primary navigation marks. As a result, instead of consulting professionals, they adopt shared negative views, and the cultural background overshadows medical advice. People with obesity are discouraged from visiting dieticians by the members of their community, which deepens the perception and enablers described above. For example, Heitkamp and Gunderman (2021) state that Hispanic mothers delay hospital visits for as long as possible, often misdiagnosing their children. Consequently, doctors and nurses face additional challenges when untreated obesity entails severe complications in one’s cardiovascular system. While the cultural space contributes to the development of the issue, the relationship framework accounts for the lack of effort to seek intervention.
Reflection and Conclusion
Overall, the relationship and expectations aspect of the discussed issue exists in a strong link to the cultural environment. An examination of the literature provides a better overview of the complex, multi-faceted nature of the problem. Its first stage is born through the cultural aspect, encouraging unhealthy eating habits leading to high obesity rates among Hispanic people. Furthermore, if one fails to prevent the issue, it is still possible to address it with an effective intervention. However, a lack of trust and understanding between Hispanic people and the public health system is a common occurrence. Existing barriers and systemic disparities negatively impact the relationships between members of this social group and clinical professionals. As a result, familial bonds override professional advice, preventing obese Hispanic people from seeking medical advice, and the issue persists. The examination has highlighted deeper problems, which lead to the development of the discussed public health issue. Addressing these severe disparities on a larger scale will translate into positive tendencies within the framework of the nation’s public health and that of Hispanic communities, in particular.
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