Culture and Health Disparities - Filipinos Personal Research Paper

Download this Research Paper in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Research Paper:

Culture and Health Disparities - Filipinos

PERSONAL SOCIAL STATUS: In researching this project, I found a study prepared by the Canadian Nurses Association (2005). It reviewed the social determinants of health and how one's social status impacts their or their family health outcomes. The focus of this piece was on issues such as poverty, economic inequality, social isolation and social support systems and their impact on the health of minorities, many of the same categories and characteristics mentioned in the Journal of Transcultural Nursing (Andrews et al., 2010). While their study was more on a broad base of Canadian conditions, their findings seem to reflect the circumstances of many first and second generation Filipinos. First and later generations of Filipinos who move to new cultures do act differently, but for the most part there remain many family connections and networks that cannot be overlooked.

My social status is mostly a reflection of the fact that I come from a low to moderate income culture of people who respect work, opportunities, and the ties we have to our families (McBride, nd). The Filipino culture is strongly linked to English and Western practices and really emphasizes our commitment to hard work, accomplishment and the desire to ground my work in activities that help others (something which also leads them to nursing and other healthcare professions) (Castillo, nd). Many Filipinos move out of the islands to other nations, often to the U.S. Moving to a new culture allows Filipinos to adjust their cultural attitudes and expectations of success and pride in our families toward career opportunities that reflect well on us and our families as we become minorities who are able to make a comfortable living. It has been noted that Filipinos have for the most part been the "least poor" of the Asian people, even though there is plenty of evidence that many of our families still live in poverty; and there is other evidence that suggests that because of our strong cultural and family commitments, we remain anchored to a variety of cultural actions that directly impact the determinate factors of our own health.

CULTURAL HEALTH FACTORS: For the most part the Philippines are like many other island countries -- characterized by challenging poverty and a lack of advancing economic opportunities. These facts and the pride they often take in the Filipino tradition of wanting to help their families financially has been tied to their tendency to move to other countries. This dispersion of the Filipino people has emphasized some of the strengths and weaknesses of their culture when it comes to health and wellness issues (McBride, nd).

Filipinos can be extremely strongly tied to their families or to closely associated "fictive" networks of intimate others who may not be blood relatives but who are often accepted as part of their natural or extended family (Semics, 2007). While this may not always be a bad thing, it can have a number of implications for poor or nontraditional health considerations if what is expected is carried over to their new national experience. While having strong senses of family may be good for support, the same inclination can result in poor eating, exercise and even health care patterns when commitments to cultural and family patterns carry over poor habits. For example, it is well accepted that Filipinos are fond of eating (Sulit, 2010). They often welcome people with food or inquiries about whether someone has eaten yet. A food nutrition writer on this issue put it this way about the island culture even today,

Feast days and other celebrations and gatherings are incomplete without festive food on the table. They show their hospitality to visitors by serving them food. They invent new dishes and improve the old ones, mixing up whatever ingredients could tickle one's tongue. Try to walk on the streets in the Philippines and count how many carinderias (food houses) you pass by (Sulit, 2010).

For a culture that adapts quickly to its surroundings, this philosophy can be bad when they become tied to cultures that celebrate fast foods, for example. In a study of the health issues of Filipinos in Los Angeles, it was noted that while many respondents to a survey talked positively about their doing some levels of exercise regularly, they often turned to fast food just as often on a weekly basis (Semics, 2007). Their eating habits were reflective of the income levels in that poorer transplant families probably rely more on fast food outlets for family connections, but it is clear that eating publicly is an important element of Filipino dietary patterns. Holidays are significant periods across the year when Filipinos affirm their family allegiance by opting to get together and affirm their culture's eating patterns, much of which is centered on fatty and poor nutritional foods (Sulit, 2010).

A related issue of concern that is linked to Filipinos -- and that has direct implications for healthcare -- is the fact that their ties to their families (and their strong history of alternative medicines) means that they may well opt not to spend their resources on their personal health care, if someone in their direct or extended family network is more in need of care. In some ways this can be good. If a family has a member in a healthcare profession, for example, they may be pressured or feel pressured to care for family members. But it can also mean that some of these caregivers do not receive the care they need -- and the most likely family members to be in this position are older immigrants who come to the new culture later or who retain strong ties to their past beliefs (McBride, nd).

TRADITIONAL BELIEFS: Religion and traditional natural balancing practices still seem to have important implications for Filipinos of various socio-economic levels, even if they say that they do not consider these issues too much in their daily or professional lives. In a study of Filipino nurses in Boston, for example, where the researchers were studying why so many Filipinos went into healthcare professions, it was noted that it is still common for religious-based "healing masses" to play an important role in the lives of many Catholic Filipinos (Castillo, nd). Such spiritual togetherness was seen as a way of affirming the strength of the family and also making sure that a higher power could help with everything from drug or alcohol problems to gambling.

There is also still an acceptance that even though, for the most part, Western medicine is best, Filipinos still believe that there are important positive health benefits to the idea that a healthy body balances its own forces, a whole-body, holistic perspective. Filipino health understandings that are tied to older beliefs often assume that balancing hot and cold influences in one's body is good, and that when imbalances occur, the bad elements can be flushed out (either literally or figuratively). Past research on older Filipino health issues has affirmed the these attitudes have been associated with the importance of people keeping a healthy layer of fat on their bodies to product them from the cold (or heat) that might otherwise cause them ailments (McBride, nd).

EMPATHETIC DISABILIITES: In the Stanford study on older Filipinos, they review many of the traditional belief and the links between these factors and over health considerations in elder Filipinos. That work identified what is called kapwa, or the phenomena of "shared identity, interacting on an equal basis with a fellow human being." This viewpoint is directly related to the extension of family connections to the "fictive" networks where Filipinos can be very welcoming to others even at the expense of their own interests. When children or even elders are stricken with or born with a disability, for example, it is this sense of…[continue]

Some Sources Used in Document:


Cite This Research Paper:

"Culture And Health Disparities - Filipinos Personal" (2012, January 27) Retrieved December 10, 2016, from

"Culture And Health Disparities - Filipinos Personal" 27 January 2012. Web.10 December. 2016. <>

"Culture And Health Disparities - Filipinos Personal", 27 January 2012, Accessed.10 December. 2016,

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Reducing Health Disparities Among African American

    Community resources must be identified and brought together to meet needs. Actions can be developed to prevent poor health outcomes by: appropriately identifying, collecting, and reporting racial/ethnic group-specific data; identifying where data are lacking and developing appropriate tools to collect those data; and linking poor health status indicators to social conditions and influences, as well as personal behaviors and genetics. As indicated by other counties, the populations experiencing these disparities

  • Healthcare Hispanic Community and Healthcare This Paper

    Healthcare Hispanic Community and Healthcare This paper is an examination of how the Hispanic community experiences healthcare. The data from a number of articles related to the subject form the basis for the conclusions reached in the analysis. One study looked at whether Hispanic-specific training should be included for healthcare worker training. It was found that there is a serious lack of training that is currently implemented regardless the community examined. Healthcare workers

  • Health Maintenance Organization Impact on

    " (AAFP, nd) The Health Maintenance Organization further should "…negotiate with both public and private payers for adequate reimbursement or direct payment to cover the expenses of interpreter services so that they can establish services without burdening physicians…" and the private industry should be "…engaged by medical organizations, including the AAFP, and patient advocacy groups to consider innovative ways to provide interpreter services to both employees and the medically underserved." (AAFP,

  • Health Care Disparity in Maryland

    Chapter II: Review of the Literature in Chapter II, the researcher explores information accessed from researched Web sites; articles; books; newspaper excerpts; etc., relevant to considerations of the disparity in access to health care services between rural and urban residence in Maryland and the impact of the lack of financial resources. The researcher initially accessed and reviewed more than 35 credible sources to narrow down the ones noted in the

  • Health Behavior the Theories at a Glance

    Health Behavior The "Theories At A Glance" manual discussed a variety of healthy behaviors. Select two theories that can be used to explain why people behave the way they do. Discuss the basic premise and constructs of the theories you choose. Cite two examples of how each theory could be used to explain a health behavior. Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) The relationship that exists between behavior and attitudes, beliefs and intention

  • Health Literacy the Nurse Plays

    Therefore, I would tell the patient that their symptoms should not be considered in isolation of their whole person. Websites that address symptoms only are not taking into account the wealth of factors that can influence the diagnosis of a specific disease. At the same time, patients have the right to know about alternative solutions other than those provided or suggested by the physician or health care organization. Sometimes insurance

  • Health Care System Evolution Organizational

    (Worcestershire Diabetes: a New model of care Stakeholder event, 2007) The continuum of care for the diabetic patient is shown in the following illustration labeled Figure 1. Diabetes: Continuum of Care Source: Worcestershire Diabetes: a New model of care Stakeholder event (2007) The continuum of care for diabetes begins at the moment that the individual is found to have diabetes and continues across the individual's health care providers and across the varying stages

Read Full Research Paper
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved