The Idea of an Essay, Volume 4

2017 Composition Contest Winnners 1 Beansprouts and the Roots JooHee Jung In the United States, football refers to the sport that involves tackling and throwing an oval ball by hand. In Britain, football refers to the sport that involves dribbling and kicking a round ball with the foot. Although the two countries use the same word, what they mean by that word is totally different. Likewise, the definition for the word health differs by culture across the globe. Culture heavily influences one’s definition of health. Joyce Newman Giger is a registered nurse and the Lulu Woff Hassenplug Endowed Chair at the School of Nursing of University of California Los Angeles. In one of her books Transcultural Nursing: Assessment & Intervention, she explains how cultures around the world view health and illnesses differently. For example, many Mexican Americans define health as the equilibrium in the universe where forces of “hot,” “cold,” “wet,” and “dry” are balanced. Any imbalance among the four forces would lead to various illnesses. Mexican Americans also think that they can restore the equilibrium by eating certain food and completing certain practices. Many Mexican Americans also think that illnesses are a curse or punishment from God or a natural manifestation of old age; therefore, many elderly Hispanics do not seek any treatment (Giger &Davidhizar, 2008).This particular behavior of elderly Hispanics, ceasing to seek treatment for their illness, is the result of culturally-induced thoughts. Their culture has influenced them to think that illnesses result from old age. In an American viewpoint, this would be absurd. Why wouldn’t anyone who is ill seek medical treatment when it is available? It is simply because Mexican Americans’ definition of health is different; therefore, their way of approaching disease and illnesses is also different. Through this, one can see how culture influences health. It explains why groups take part in certain practices that medical professionals don’t always understand. If nurses act upon the assumption that their approach to a disease corresponds with the Mexican Americans’ approach, they greatly risk upsetting them