High Risk Nutrition Practices in Different Cultures

High Risk Nutrition Practices in Different Cultures

HLT 324

Grand Canyon University:

High Risk Nutrition Practices in Different Cultures

Through the years nutritional practices have been changing world wide. With modernization of food preparation and even how we receive food has been changing. You can take something frozen and within minutes it’s cooked. With these modernizations it also brings increased high risk nutrition practices; add cultural beliefs to the mix, and risky behaviors become even more prevalent. Some cultures have healthy nutrition basis however there are several cultures that have high risk nutritional practices. In this paper we will discuss a few high risk nutritional practices in a few cultures. We will go over their high risk behaviors, their religion systems (if it is a component or not), any historical perspectives that would cause high risk behaviors, and any other factors that would influence these behaviors to happen with each cultures. History, ethnicity, and the cultural or geographical contexts play a significant role in the evolution of class care in health care organizations (Ray, 2008).

Let’s discuss the Japanese culture; they feature several high risk nutritional practices. In the traditional Japanese culture they relied on dietary guidelines and food health such as natural botanical medicine to deal with health problems. The Japanese culture nutritional practices were governed by an intermixed set of values, beliefs, and practices related to food. They had sophisticated food classification systems that provided local explanatory models of sicknesses where food was considered either the cause or treatment (Palmer, 2011). The Japanese culture also described food that was prohibited especially concerning women and children. Major influences within the culture were more of historical perceptions and beliefs but not religion. In the modern day Japanese culture high risk nutritional practices are largely similar to modern communities. They include alcohol and drugs use, overeating, and other unhealthy feeding habits (Lutz Mazur & Litch, 2014).

A culture that stands out on the issue of high risk nutritional behaviors is American children. Over the past decade, a majority of American children and young adults in America have increasingly developed the habit of eating fast food, junk food, increased caffeine such as coffee, soda, and energy drinks. There are several factors that have influenced this high risk behavior- social media, television, and just exposure to “quick” meals. If you think about a historical perspective on this, there is not one because as time has gone by the convenience aspect has grown. There are constantly new ways to get fast food to you, grubhub, ubereats and so much more. There is also no belief system that states American children and young adults need to eat fast food. Childhood obesity is huge in America, the lack of exercise and increased fast food consumption will not only lead to childhood obesity but to early child death. During childhood and adolescence, good nutrition and dietary behaviors are important to achieve full growth potential and appropriate body composition, to promote health and well-being, and to reduce the risk of chronic diseases in adulthood (Read, 2019). Children receive most of their nutritional needs from the food they intake at an early age; poor nutrition will affect their growth.

On the other hand, the American adults have more complexed High risk behaviors when it comes to nutrition and health. One of the most common practices among adults in America includes alcohol consumption, overindulging, and smoking cigarettes. The main cause of these behaviors is mainly choices that they make. There is a historical perception; the assumption that consuming alcohol and smoking help relieve stress from everyday life from work or at home. Overindulging which is basically overeating is mainly subsidized by the plethora of food that is available and especially nowadays with the ease of access to having everything delivered to you no matter where you are at. Some adults tend to increase their eating when they are stressed, nervous or frustrated – this is termed as emotional eating. The fact that with modernization of everything and how we can literally order whatever we want and it will be delivered directly to your door. We have become a society of laziness and are content with how things are done. They also will tend to increase their food intake when they have been consuming alcohol and socializing with friends and family. Some adults just eat because they are bored and having nothing else to do. With these high risk behaviors it brings up increased risk of acquiring major health conditions such as diabetes, heart attacks, strokes and even cancer.

Another noticeable culture that features some high risk nutritional behaviors is the Swahili. Today, the Swahili tribe resides in most of the coastal towns in Kenya and Tanzania, including Mombasa and Malindi, and on the Indian Ocean islands of Lamu, Pemba and Zanzibar (June, 2019). The Swahili cultures religion; Muslim Swahilis are prohibited from eating pork or drinking any alcohol. The Swahili’s staple food is of Arabic descent, and most of their cooking is rich in spices. The majorities of the people in the Swahili culture are Muslim; there are some who are Hindu and Christian beliefs. One of the high risk behaviors is that of smoking and alcohol consumption. The Swahili culture traditional prepared wine and other fermented beverages, however this did stop when some Swahili joined the Islamic religion. Another high – risk is their increased consumption of baked goods – carbohydrates which not only are their foods baked but they also fry their foods. This is not a healthy choice in how to cook food; will cause an increase in cholesterol.

Our final culture is that of the Arabic culture which has some high risk nutrition behaviors. Nutrition-related diseases manifested by under nutrition and over nutrition are leading contributors to the disease burden in the Arab countries (Musaiger, 2011). The main factors are their religion. The Arabic culture is mainly Muslims, they do not consume alcohol. Their nutritional status is dictated by their religion values. For example, they do not consume any meat products from animals that are forbidden from consumption by Islam (Palmer, 2011). The high risk behavior of Arabic culture is tobacco usage; it is mainly used by men as for women using tobacco it is prohibited. Using tobacco causes an increased risk of acquiring Lung Cancer, high blood pressure which can lead to a stroke and eventually death. “Arab Americans who maintain traditional cultural norms after their immigration are more likely to continue smoking as a form of social interaction” (RG, 2006).

In the summary, culture plays an intricate role in determining healthy nutritional practices. It has both negative and positive impacts on the people’s nutritional behavior. As I have discussed, many cultures have some way of being associated with several high risk nutritional practices. The thing we have to remember is that the negative outcome is not the initial intent of the nutritional practice. We have to remember that these cultures don’t know healthy nutritional practices due to lack of knowledge, misinformation, and religion – belief systems. Since food is a main source of nutrition, the availability of foods dictates what is eaten; we need to remember this especially with certain cultures. If a culture is located near the coast they will have an increased diet of seafood vs somebody who is from the mountains who has a higher intake of red meat. It is our due diligence to accept the cultural diversity and respect them while also helping them stop making the high risk nutritional practices and making the correct choices in the end.


Lutz, C. A., Mazur, E., & Litch, N. (2014). Nutrition and diet therapy. FA Davis.

Musaiger, A. O., Hassan, A. S., & Obeid, O. (2011, September). The paradox of nutrition-related diseases in the Arab countries: the need for action. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3194109/

Palmer, G. (2011). Complementary feeding: nutrition, culture, and politics. Pinter & Martin Publishers.

Ray, M. A. (2008). Transcultural caring dynamics in nursing and health care (2nd ed.).

R, G., Haddad, K, A., & J, S. (2016, August 25). Smoking Behavior in Arab Americans: A Systematic Review. Retrieved from https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/smoking-behavior-in-arab-americans-a-systematic-review-2161-0711-1000462.php?aid=78766

(2019, June). The Swahili Tribe of Kenya: Their History and Culture. Retrieved from http://www.kenya-information-guide.com/swahili-tribe.html

(2019). Read “Nutrition Standards for Foods in Schools: Leading the Way Toward Healthier Youth” at NAP.edu. Retrieved from https://www.nap.edu/read/11899/chapter/4