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The impact of culture on health: A study of risk perception on unhealthy lifestyles in Babati town, Tanzania
Södertörn University, School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This paper aims to determine how culture factors influence the occurrence of overweight and obesity among adults in Babati town, Tanzania. A qualitative field study in Babati was conducted in February and March 2014, to gather information and identify how culture influences health perceptions and behaviours. Then the study could identify and understand how risks associated with overweight and obesity can be averted. In order to understand health outcomes, it is important to highlight the role of culture and its influence. This essay is using a culture-centred approach to understand the health of the population in Babati. In this study, the theoretical concept of the PEN-3 cultural model has been a tool in order to identify the underling causes that lead to a particular behaviour and action. Few studies in Tanzania have focused on the perceived risk of being overweight and obese and adapted it to the ruling culture. This study has contributed to wider knowledge within the field, both locally and globally. The results show that overweight in Babati is not only caused by the increasing urbanization, a growing middle-class, new ways of labour where physical activity is not necessary needed and changes in food and eating habits. Attitudes, knowledge and perceptions issues have a much higher impact. Being overweight is often associated with perception of wealth and health, this is why many strive to achieve that ideal, both men and women. Culture has proved to have a significant role in this study. Everything that people does and what decisions they make can be linked to their cultural belonging, which ideals people aims for, food choices, perceptions of physical activity and risk perceptions about illness. Culture cannot be excluded in interventions on health. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 45 p.
Keyword [en]
Non-communicable diseases, knowledge and attitudes, PEN 3-cultural model, Sub-Saharan Africa
National Category
Other Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-27828OAI: diva2:824535
Subject / course
Development and International Cooperation
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2015-06-22 Created: 2015-06-22 Last updated: 2015-06-22Bibliographically approved

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