The chapter entitled “Living in Multicultural Worlds” primarily discusses what happens to people when they move to a new culture and how they adapt to new places based on their individual cultural values. One of the most interesting topics that Steven J. Heine discusses in this chapter involve the downsides of acculturation. The most striking disadvantage is that moving to America causes some immigrants to become obese. A 2013 article published on the ISRN Pediatrics website claims that exposure to the United States may be one of the leading causes in obesity for immigrants (Yu et al, 2013).
The study conducted by Stella M. Yu and her colleagues aimed to calculate various measures of immigrant health status and correlate these numbers with the health of children who were born in the United States. This group found that “Compared with non-Hispanic White US-born children, multivariable analyses indicate that all Hispanic children have higher odds of obesity, poor physical and dental health, with Hispanic foreign-born children 7 times as likely to report poor/fair physical health”. One of the most striking measurable differences was in the obesity rate. The researchers also found that there is a relationship between the socioeconomic status of families and the obesity rate; therefore, families that either are unable to afford healthy foods in this country or who live in areas where these foods are unavailable are more likely to become obese.
Although lower socioeconomic status is likely to impact the obesity rates of Hispanic children who live in the United States, the textbook author offers a supporting argument based on cultural values. He states that people who strive to maintain their own culture and identity in a new country occasionally have a difficult time in doing so due to the differing resources available in both locations (Heine, 2011). Since Hispanic people wish to maintain their culture, they usually prepare the same foods they would at home; however since more food is usually available here, they may consume more than they did in their home country, which could be the true reason for the rise in obesity.
Heine, SJ. (2011). Cultural Psychology Second Edition. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
Yu SM, Lin SC, Adirim T. (2013). Selected Health Status Measures of Children from US Immigrant Families. ISRN Pediatrics. Retrieved from http://www.hindawi.com/isrn/pediatrics/2013/164757/