Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950565 | Print ISBN: 9780761928201 | Online ISBN: 9781412950565| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Culture and Health
Miyuki Takagi & Linda Juang
The maintenance of good health is a vital concern for people of all cultures. Despite the universal recognition of the importance of health, the conceptualization and strategies to achieve optimal health are culturally dependent, varying widely across cultural contexts. The United States is a multicultural society, in which ethnic minorities constitute approximately 30% of the current total population. This ethnic “minority” population is projected to constitute almost 50% of the total population by 2050 (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2001). With this rapid increase in the cultural diversity of our society, it is crucial to understand how culture influences people's lives in relation to health. This entry discusses how culture relates to the conceptualization of health, treatment modality, the epidemiology of disease, and health-seeking behaviors. At present, the predominant theory of health officially taught and practiced in major medical institutions in the United States and most industrialized countries is based ...