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High-Risk Nutritional Practices

High-Risk Nutritional Practices

Nutritional practices/behavior remain one of the modifiable risks for non-communicable and infectious diseases. According to the CDC, poor healthy behaviors or practices are one of the four main risk factors for chronicity, the others being alcohol consumption, tobacco use, and physical inactivity (“Poor Nutrition,” 2022). The ancillary burden of high-risk nutritional practice to already stretching the prevalence of non-communicable and communicable diseases makes it an area of interest for health promotional activities on health and wellness. Healthy behavior sums all actions by groups or individuals to prepare, procure, store, and consume food. Dietary behaviors are essential and intrinsic components of culture. This paper focuses on high-risk nutritional practices among different cultures and the role of healthcare providers in preserving health amidst these risks.

High-Risk Nutritional Practices Across Cultures

High-risk nutritional behaviors are those practices that increase the likelihood of developing diseases. Eating raw food, overnutrition, undernutrition, integration of alcohol into the diet, and consumption of high fat or high sugar diet are some of the high-risk nutritional practices.

Raw or undercooked food consumption remains a common behavior in South and Southeast Asia. Eating raw or undercooked meat is a high-risk health behavior that exposes individuals to bacteria, viruses, parasites, and other toxins (Zhou et al., 2020). Zoonotic infections such as fish-borne nematode infections arise from consuming undercooked food. Infectious disease outbreaks attributable to viruses such as hepatitis A virus and caliciviruses and bacteria, as seen with vibrio and streptococcal strains, have been reported globally and linked to raw food consumption. Sushi, a common Japanese cuisine popular among Japanese Americans, has raw seafood components. This underlines the depth of this practice in this culture.

Overnutrition is another high-risk nutritional behavior that is common among Polish Americans. Polish cuisine is rich in meat, especially game meat, pork, or chicken. This cuisine also contains various vegetables, herbs, spices, nodules, and grains. This cuisine is extensive and demanding in its preparation and is highly seasoned. The meal is also abundant in eggs, butter, and cream. Many Poles believe in late-night dinners. Despite its aesthetics and elegance, the Polish cuisine and the overall meal behavior of Poles subject them to several health risks. Their meal is highly calorific and increases the propensity to weight gain and subsequent health effects of overweight and obesity (Jezewska-Zychowicz et al., 2020). The fact that their meals are mainly taken as late-night dinners compounds its metabolic consequences on its users. Being overweight and obese are modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disorders and other chronic disorders and are majorly attributed to poor eating behaviors. The risk is underlined among Polish Americans subscribing to the Polish eating culture.

The general nutritional behaviors of Mexican Americans make them at risk for diabetes and other cardiovascular disorders. The native traditional Mexican dish was a mixture of Mesoamerican and Hispanic foods. This meal was heavy on corn and fruits and was thought to increase insulin sensitivity. However, with acculturation, Mexican Americans have tended towards a more Westernized eating pattern with highly calorific foods highlighting their diet. Additionally, the Mexican-American lifestyle is abundant in parties and celebrations that motivate them to prepare and eat these highly calorific foods. Their love for sweet foods is often apparent in their meals, with carbonated soft drinks being popular among Mexicans. Notably, the government back in Mexico initiated a campaign to reduce the number of sodas that Mexicans drink in an attempt to curb overweight and obesity. The downside of these eating patterns and behaviors is evident in more Mexican Americans developing diabetes. This underlines the plight of Mexicans in dealing with high nutritional risks.

Cultural History and Belief

The practice of eating raw food is an indigenous practice in most cultures. Eating raw food among the Japanese and other Asian cultures stemmed from the belief that cooking or any other form of food processing destroys the nutritional value of these foods. They believe that preparing seafood by heating destroys the omega-3, 3 fatty acids found in abundance in the flesh or raw fish. From a historical perspective, eating raw fish was initiated in Japan to fill a void in nutrition that was created by the condemnation of killing animals by the Buddhist religion. The Edo period saw the Japanese begin to adopt raw fish cuisine. The Washoku cuisine, which has a history of use in Japan, with its initial use over 5000 years ago, was also composed of raw fish accompanied by other ingredients. The utility of raw fish meat as a constituent of Japanese cuisine has since established its roots in the Japanese culture despite active campaigns against it. In modern Japan, and as seen with Japanese Americans, the cultural imprints are still evident as many Japanese Americans still prefer their local cuisine due to its high nutritional value.

Further, Polish cuisine has a history dating back to the Middle Ages. This cuisine was based on dishes obtained primarily from agricultural proceeds. In the Middle Ages, this rich agricultural land produced cereal crops, farm and wild meat, and other foods that characterized Polish cuisine. Its close trade relations saw lower prices for spices in the country, popularizing the use of herbs in Polish dishes. Polish cuisine was developed to include the traditional components of meat and cereals and also integrated heavy spicing, buttermilk, whey, and other alcoholic beverages. Polish value the presence of meat in their meals. In Poland, meat is a significant component of a dinner meal. The Polish also accord themselves sufficient time to prepare their meals. Other than the festive meal preparation that takes up to a few days, normal day meal preparation also takes quite some time, and most Polish dinners are served late at night.

Lastly, Mexican culture is mostly a blend of the traditional native Mexican and Spanish cultures. The Spanish conquest of the Americans saw the introduction of Spanish diets and cooking techniques to the country. This saw the introduction of foodstuffs such as rice, sugarcane, and other sweets that currently characterize most Mexican diets. In the modern era, the immigration of Mexicans into the U.S. has seen them get acculturated into more Westernized foods and styles of cooking. Highly refined carbohydrates are common in these groups. The Mexican culture is more collectivistic and family-oriented. They also believe in the togetherness of the family and like family gatherings and celebrations. As Murray (2022) reports, there are over 5,000 celebrations and festivals annually in Mexico. These parties/celebrations have a footing on their likelihood of consuming foods considered high nutritional risks. Introducing calorific and more westernized diets into their meals due to migration into the U.S. has also made them more prone to lifestyle disorders such as diabetes.

The Role of Healthcare Providers

Healthcare providers, as advocates for healthy living and wellness, play an important role in correcting high-risk nutritional behaviors. With regards to Japanese culture, healthcare providers can educate members subscribing to these cultural practices on the harmful effects of eating raw food on their health. They should point out that eating raw food has been implicated in infectious disease outbreaks and that processing food by cooking does not entirely diminish the nutritious value of these foods. In the Mexican and Polish cultures, healthcare providers can educate members of these cultures on the impact overnutrition has on their health. They should be advised that calorific foods are a recipe for weight gain and subsequent overweight and obesity. They should also be educated on the significance of calorific regulation in preventing weight gain and obesity.

The family’s role in nurturing, teaching, influencing, and caring for an individual makes it an effective entry point for healthcare interventions on health preservation. Interventions on correcting poor nutritional behaviors among the Japanese and Mexicans should be focused on the family due to the high impact the family has on the individuals. The Asian and Mexican cultures are more family-oriented. Familism is an essential cultural value as it impacts individuals’ decision-making processes within their family units (Cahill et al., 2021). Poland is a more individualistic society; thus, Polish Americans tend toward individualism. Therefore, the health promotion plan for these groups should target individuals rather than their families.

Spiritual beliefs heavily influence behaviors and decision-making processes. Healthcare interventions targeted at health preservations among believers should have a spiritual appeal to control these individuals’ actions. The inclusion of spirituality in conventional healthcare approaches may provide a new perspective for examining the fundamental healthcare questions about collective values, the definition of health, and the purpose of life, which highlights health promotion activities (Egan & Timmins, 2019). Healthcare interventions targeted at the Japanese-Americans should recognize that Japan is mainly a Buddhist or a Shinto society. Mexico and Poland are dominantly Christian societies. Catholics account for the majority of their population. Due to differing perspectives on religion and spiritual beliefs among the cultures outlined, tailoring responses to each culture may be warranted in this case.

Healthcare practices vary across the Asian, Mexican, and Polish cultures and are an important entry point for healthcare interventions. The Japanese approach to health heavily borrows from Shintoism, Buddhism, and philosophical beliefs such as Confucianism and filial piety (Blanch, 2022). In these beliefs, cleanliness is highly valued, and illnesses are considered unclean. Traditional Japanese medicines and mind-body interventions are embedded in Japanese cultural practices. The Polish and the Mexicans view pain as a punishment from God and believe in biomedical, natural causes of pain and disease. There is also a belief in the herbal and fork treatment options. Fork healers in the Mexican culture are perceived to have God-given abilities. The Mexicans believe in the presence of an evil eye, sorcery, and witchcraft. Healthcare interventions among Japanese Americans, Mexican Americans, and Polish Americans should be wary of their cultural provisions. Integrating these provisions as alternative or complementary forms of health promotion may be necessary to ensure the overall wellness of these individuals.

Drug and alcohol use is another aspect of wellness that varies across cultures. In the Japanese culture, there is no widespread social acknowledgment of alcohol abuse and drug use. However, with modernization, the prevalence of alcohol use and drug and substance abuse among Japanese has been on the rise. Alcohol is, however, an important component of many Polish and Mexican diets. Drugs and alcohol use are contributory factors to chronic disorders and poor health. Healthcare providers should ramp up their campaigns against excessive use of alcohol and other substances of abuse as a health preservation measure.


High-risk nutritional behaviors impede health promotion campaigns to ensure community health and wellness. Addressing these behaviors sometimes becomes difficult because they are often embedded in the culture of various ethnic groups. Recognizing and acknowledging the cultural provisions contributing to these behaviors may enable establishing a framework to resolve these issues. Healthcare providers play a role in this regard. Their ability to educate and influence individuals from different cultures to modify their behaviors towards healthy living and wellness makes them indispensable in promoting health in these communities.


Blanch, L. (2022). Healthcare Beliefs of the Japanese | Synonym. Retrieved 12 September 2022, from

Cahill, K., Updegraff, K., Causadias, J., & Korous, K. (2021). Familism values and adjustment among Hispanic/Latino individuals: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin147(9), 947-985.

Egan, R., & Timmins, F. (2019). Spirituality as a Public Health Issue: The Potential Role of Spirituality in Promoting Health. Spirituality In Healthcare: Perspectives For Innovative Practice, 55-66.

Jezewska-Zychowicz, M., Gębski, J., & Kobylińska, M. (2020). Food Involvement, Eating Restrictions and Dietary Patterns in Polish Adults: Expected Effects of Their Relationships (LifeStyle Study). Nutrients12(4), 1200.

Murray, S. (2022). Mexican Celebrations: A Month-by-Month Guide to the Holidays and Festivals. Journey Mexico. Retrieved 12 September 2022, from

Poor Nutrition. nutrition. (2022). Retrieved 12 September 2022, from

Zhou, M., Zhang, N., Zhang, M., & Ma, G. (2020). Culture, eating behavior, and infectious disease control and prevention. Journal Of Ethnic Foods7(1).


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Assessment Description

Examine the high-risk nutritional behaviors associated with different cultures. Identify each culture’s historical perspectives, belief systems, and other factors associated with these high-risk healthy behaviors. Write a 1,500-3,000-word paper on your findings in which you accomplish the following:

High-Risk Nutritional Practices

High-Risk Nutritional Practices

  1. Summarize the high-risk-nutritional behaviors practiced among two or three different cultures.
  2. Discuss the historical perspectives and belief systems of these cultures that influence high-risk nutritional behaviors.
  3. Discuss the role of the health care provider in caring for individuals with high-risk behaviors for each culture. These may include but are not limited to (a) education, (b) family roles, (c) spiritual beliefs, (d) health care practices, and (e) drug and alcohol use.

This paper requires a minimum of two outside resources in addition to the textbook. Be sure resources are current within the last five years.

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