Heritage assessment is useful as it helps to determine how close people are to their traditional heritage. It is easy to know if one has maintained a close contact with his or her traditional heritage from a simple interview. In this regard, questions related to one’s association with immediate family, ethnicity, religion as well as other aspects of social heritage. In addition, the assessment also entails one’s upbringing and how close it was to the traditional lifestyle. If one was brought up in a rural setting, there are chances he or she has maintained strong ties with traditional heritage. On the other hand, persons who were brought up in an urban setting are likely to lose ties with traditional heritage. In pursuit of healthcare, cultural heritage plays a significant role in determining their health protection and maintenance. It is therefore right to say that people who were brought up in rural setting are likely to use their cultural heritage in determining health maintenance (Thomas, 1998).
The Latino’s pursuit of health insurance and preventive care is significantly influenced by their cultural heritage. In most cases, Latino’s shy away from these services due to cultural notion that they are not necessary. However, affordability is also considered a significant factor because it affects the wider Latino population. Although it cannot be described as cultural heritage as such, low income lifestyle is prevalent among the population to the extent that it contributes to their heritage. The other factors related to Latino’s cultural that affect their pursuit of healthcare are socio-cultural beliefs, perceived health status as well as traditions. According to literature, health communication with regards to Latinos should ideally focus on family as well as other psychosocial factors because the two significantly affect their pursuit of healthcare. From the interview, it was clear that a Latino would most likely go for herbal therapy for chronic illnesses as they believe that herbal medicine provides gentle therapy to such conditions. In addition, they are likely to depend on lay heath advisor model top describe their sick role. It is the reason the government is trying to incorporate these into conventional healthcare to take care of their special interests now that statistics show they constitute about 40% of US population. Among African Americans, the same trend seems to be taking shape among men. When one falls sick, he or she will first rush to traditional medicine instead of modern medicine. They basically believe that traditional medicine works better and less likely to cause side effects. In this regard, it can be deduced that cultural heritage is quite significant in influencing people’s healthcare and dietary patterns. From an interview with an African American, it was clear that while people have widely adopted conventional healthcare, people tend to go back to their cultural heritage in case of complications (Robert and Thomas, 2001).
Lately, tradition has significantly taken toll of preventive healthcare among the Tohono tribe in Southern Arizona in respect of diabetes. This came after a sudden realization that diabetes was becoming prevalent among the people of the tribe. As a result, members of the tribe quickly thought of modernization as one of the possible causes of the unfortunate reality. Thus, a decision was made to trace their tribal roots in terms of foods and medication if that could reverse the trend of diabetes. The other cultural hindrance to preventive healthcare that has been noted among members of this tribe is blatant refusal to seek medication when one is not ill, especially among men. This has been attributed to male pride that is strongly attached to cultural heritage. It can, therefore, be said that while people are reverting back to traditional healthcare, they also tend to adopt traditional ways that are not beneficial health-wise. According to literature, diabetes type 2 has lately become prevalent among adults because they do not care to seek medical checkup so that they can get early treatment. Eventually, the tribe has been recording the highest prevalence in the entire nation. The other factor that has been associated with diabetes is change in diet. The trend began when the tribe abandoned their traditional meals that mainly comprised of saguaro fruit, tepary beans and pear cactus. Instead, members of this tribe adopted modern foods laden with lots of fats and carbohydrates. Before they realized it, people began developing bulges in their waistlines and big tummies. Eventually, physicians soon started diagnosing people with different types of diabetes. However, diabetes type 2 has remained the most prevalent one. The people of this tribe strongly believe that by reverting to their traditional foods, they can achieve a great deal of health. The traditional foods had balanced amounts of carbohydrates and were less likely to cause diabetes. It is the reason everyone is rushing for traditional foods in Tohono Nation. Essentially, the tribe has gone back to its cultural heritage for protection against modern diseases. It is worth noting that members of the Tohono tribe would use their traditional heritage in determining the kind of medication that suits them (Robert and Thomas, 2001).
Health restoration is based on the belief that the human body has intrinsic ability to heal itself provided that is has the basic requirements. These requirements are usually in terms of nutrition and certain forms of herbal medicines. This has provided a good reason for people of North American Native Tribes to remain dependent on their environment for food and medication. They believe that by eating the right foods in the right combinations, one would not need to seek services of any physician. Although this sounds crude, it worked quite well in the traditional society before the advent of conventional healthcare and can still work. It only takes one to believe they can work so as to use them. Otherwise, there is no doubt that they work considering that most conventional medicines originate from natural sources. So, by consuming natural products people are only using drugs in their crude form. The therapeutic advantage comes from the fact that traditional doctors tried and established the right dozes of these drugs when used in their crude form. This technically eliminates the fear of under-dozing or over-dozing patients. Noticeably, tribal institutions are currently engaged in a rush to encourage people to use traditional diets as they provide important protection against diseases. Indeed, it has reduced the prevalence of chronic illnesses like diabetes. It remains to be seen if the government will integrate these products into conventional medicine so that they can be availed to public health institutions (Thomas, 1998).
In conclusion, the concept of health is best understood in conjunction with people’s culture and cultural heritage. The kind of traditional foods that people eat are based on the traditional concept of their therapeutic advantages. For example, Latino’s pursuit of health insurance and preventive care is significantly influenced by their cultural heritage. And lately, tradition has significantly taken toll of preventive healthcare among the Tohono tribe in Southern Arizona in respect of diabetes. This came after a sudden realization that diabetes was becoming prevalent among the people of the tribe. Health restoration has provided a good reason for people of North American Native Tribes to remain dependent on their environment for food and medication. They believe that by eating the right foods in the right combinations, one would not need to seek services of any physician.