Culture and Health Attitudes

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United States and China Health Attitudes

PSYC3540 Culture, Ethnicity, and Diversity

U05a1 Culture and Health Attitudes

Capella University

November, 2012

United States and China Health Attitudes
Although every culture has different belief of being healthy, they all share the same definition. According to Mastsumoto and Juang (2013) healthy is defined as, “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being not merely the absence of diseases or infirmity” (p. 180). Not only do it takes physically, mentally, and socially well-being but diseases free to be classified as healthy in all cultures. The United States and the China culture share many differences and similarities when it comes to the belief of being healthy.

Recently, there was an interview between a twenty-five year old Chinese girl and me. This girl owned her own business. She was born and raised in China but moved to the United States when she turned twenty years old. She told me she learned that China and the United States share many differences and similarities toward being healthy.

The Chinese girl told me in the interviewed in China, they mainly believe in the principle of yin and yang to be healthy. According to the Wikipedia Encyclopedia (2012), “The concept of yin and yang is also applicable to the human body; for example, the upper part of the body and the back are assigned to yang which is cold foods, while the lower parts of the body are believed to have the yin character which is hot foods. Yin and yang characterization also extends to the various body functions, and – more importantly – to disease symptoms (e.g., cold and heat sensations are assumed to be yin and yang symptoms, respectively).” Yin and yang is what Chinese people use as a balance between good and bad health. They believe that imbalance of yin or yang is what leads to poor health. For example, if a person eats too much of yin, which might be spicy foods, they are told that the yin caused them to have poor health; this person sure drinks some herbal teas to balance him or her back to good health. Although China believes in good health, there are a lot of mental health people there.

The Chinese girl also told me that there are a lot of people in China that have mental health problems – over millions. Most of the mental health problems are due to depression. There are a lot of mental health patients in China that attempts suicide. According to Li, Philips, and Cohen (2012), “More women attempt suicide than men. The most frequent causes of the attempts were interpersonal conflict (87%), psychological problems (33%), and conflict between others that affected the subject (27%)” (para 1). The Chinese girl said the main cause of the women attempting suicide is due to interpersonal conflict, psychological problems, and conflict with the other people. There are no solutions for the mental health problems in China. Not only do they have mental health problems but also chronic diseases.

China is known to have more chronic diseases than any other diseases. The Chinese girl told me they are known to have a high risk of cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer. Summary chronic diseases now account for an estimated 80% of deaths and 70% of disability adjusted life-years lost in China (Longde, Lingzhi, Fan, Yamin, and Burton, 2005). The chronic diseases death and the disability adjusted life-years lost are very high in China. The chronic diseases are mostly related to high blood pressure and tobacco used. Most of these people that die from chronic diseases are middle-aged people. The Chinese girl talked about how the Chinese uses the yin and yang to diagnosis chronic diseases. She also stated they use herbal to try to cure these chronic diseases.

I told the Chinese girl unlike China, the United States also have a theory they use to become healthy. I told her the United States believe in the influence of the biomedical model of health. The...
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