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The following guides emphasize information that can be used to stimulate thinking about cultural differences and prompt questions that will help providers understand how their patients identify with and express their cultural backgrounds.
These are not fact lists to apply indiscriminately.
And fast foot companies have specifically targeted African American communities as a growing market for their products.
Although many African Americans eat foods such as greens, beans, and rice, which are rich in nutrients, economic issues and deep-rooted dietary habits create challenges for changing behaviors and lowering disease risk in this population.
Institutionalization of elders has historically been avoided, with sons and daughters taking on the family caretaker role.
Many African Americans like hearty meals that may include meat, fish, greens, rice, grits, white and sweet potatoes, corn, turnips, eggplant, peanuts, and homemade desserts.
African Americans often have strong religious affiliations.
Older African Americans may be suspicious of clinicians, believing their health is personal and up to God’s will.
Because they may be reluctant to share personal or family issues, building a trusting relationship is key.
By 1996, 28 percent of this population was reported to have a poor-quality diet, compared to 16 percent of whites.
A poor quality diet often can be attributed to greater access to packaged, processed, and fast foods; the common practice of using fats in cooking; and the high cost of fresh produce and lean meat.
However, through health education and increased awareness of healthy eating practices, African Americans are replacing traditional pork products with turkey, fried foods with baked foods, and starchy vegetables with tomatoes and green vegetables.