Nowadays, obesity has become one of the most relevant and prominent issues in the United States, given its epidemiological character and higher risk of developing other diseases. Besides traditional causes of obesity, the academic community has revealed other factors contributing to the respective issue; notably, it concerns the ethnic or racial background. For instance, as a distinct racial group in the United States, Blacks have specific cultural features determining the scope of obesity’s spread in terms of a community; they have an exceptional attitude toward this issue.
According to statistics, Black present a group with the highest rate of overweight (70% of adults among them have problems with obesity); this issue has particular genetic and cultural causes (Schub & Smith, 2014). Firstly, studies show that Blacks have a higher genetic predisposition to obesity; one of the deeper explanations is high insulin sensitivity (Schub & Smith, 2014). Secondly, in terms of this culture, Black children with obesity’s issues traditionally are not regarded as overweight (Schub & Smith, 2014). Thus, this group does not consider the problem as such in childhood, and subsequently, they make no attempts to treat it. Finally, corpulence among women is regarded as attractive in Black culture, so it above all is a beauty standard (Schub & Smith, 2014). Overall, such characteristics of the Blacks’ genetics and culture contribute to the spread of obesity.
However, Blacks hardly present a minority in the United States, and behavioral or religious aspects of their lives are not so distinct. Perhaps, the attitude of Blacks toward overweight is the most significant element of culture that should be taken into account in the process of a treatment to connect with a patient. Specifically, a clinician can recognize Blacks’ acceptance of obesity and avoid talking about this issue in terms of considering it as an explicit problem. It results in establishing a profound contact and prevention of patient rejection.
At the same, Blacks’ attitude toward obesity is a challenge in terms of treatment. Mainly, avoiding acceptance of it as a threat leads to a patient’s indifference regarding an issue. One possible solution can be a clinician’s appeal to academic studies’ results. Notably, it concerns numerical data regarding a higher risk of diabetes mellitus, hypertension, cardiovascular disease (Schub & Smith, 2014). In other words, illustration of obesity’s possible consequences, given the lack of evaluative judgments from the clinician’s side, creates conditions in which the patient defines a problem by himself.
The development of cultural competence is mainly a result of the profound study of different cultures and traditions and work experience with their representatives. At the stage of this experience accumulation, a profitable recommendation is to articulate a problem carefully, adhering to neutral language. In the case of Blacks, avoiding direct considering obesity as a problem can be helpful in terms of contact with a patient. Anyway, a clinician should not emphasize the distinctiveness of approaches to treating different ethnic or racial groups because it can be regarded as a kind of discrimination, which would be problematic for providing a further cure.
Moreover, attending institutions such as NOVA also contributes to cultural competence development. It allows exploring cultures’ differences in the dimension of various diseases’ treatment, supporting it with statistical data; such information helps form a solid theoretical basis. Subsequently, respective training and practical experience provide a profound understanding of how to construct an approach to treat everybody individually, adhering to a competent attitude within the framework of a culture.
Schub, T., & Smith, N. (2014). Obesity in a Culturally Diverse Population: an Overview — Providing Culturally Competent Care. CINAHL Nursing Guide, Web.