“The Importance of Culture”

Tu Salud Si Cuenta

Allante Moon

I never truly understood the importance of community wide campaigns until I participated in Relay for Life, an event dedicated to bringing communities together to remember lost loved ones, honor survivors of all cancers, and raise money to fight against cancer. Since I've participated for more than 6 years in this cancer walk campaign, I am ecstatic to hear about the Tu Salud Si Cuenta Campaign, which is focused on improving eating behaviors and obesity outcomes for Hispanics in Brownsville, Texas. I will be traveling to Brownsville, Texas for my Public Health in Action Course to work with the Tu Salud Si Cuenta Campaign to distribute surveys and complete content analysis on their program. Brownsville, Texas health disparities are an important issue to address. 49 percent of Brownsville population currently has diabetes and are considered obese. Over 50 percent of the residents have little or no access to healthcare and suffer from many chronic diseases.

So, what is so good about this Tu Salud Si Cuenta Campaign? Culturally sensitive and language appropriate messages about healthy eating behaviors are displayed through their various marketing avenues like working with the school districts TV channel to air content on Latin dance exercise groups or testimonials. This is what makes a difference in communities.

Every culture is significantly different in terms of what they eat, how they prepare their food, how often they exercise and more! It is not appropriate to disregard these important aspects of another culture when trying to implement various campaigns and interventions. I come from a black community and was raised on eating collard greens, candy yams and chitterlings. I would be extremely annoyed if volunteers suddenly came into my community telling me to change my eating habits. I would be more accepting of volunteers implementing cooking demonstrations that still include the foods I eat but with healthier ways of preparing it.

This week I want you all to reflect on your own culture and why it is important to always be culturally sensitive when entering and exiting communities. I know I will be doing just that while I am in Brownsville, Texas.

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