There is no denying that westernization is happening – everywhere. How can we prevent the westernizing of developing societies? Do we want to?
Westernization is the process where western culture is adopted into non-western regions. This can include anything from clothing, to values, to general everyday lifestyle. While from a western standpoint this may be seen as a positive effect on developing nations due to an increase in general technology it also has very harmful effects due to a difference in things like wealth and status. Developing nations lack the resources to deal with things like stresses of the workplace, diet, or health and wellness. In The Trouble with Testosterone, author Robert Sapolsky exemplifies the danger of westernization using the story of Joseph, a Kenyan who is the manager of a hotel lodge in one of the villages. Joseph is suffering from severe hypertension due to many of the high salt foods he now is able to eat. Additionally, he is faced with westernized problems like high stress in the workplace, the inability to workout, and cultural stigmas about weight and wealth status. Joseph has his blood pressure monitored every week by Robert and even though each reading comes back consistently high Joseph continues to do nothing to change his lifestyle. This is because high weight and high blood pressure is seen by others in his village as a sign of his wealth and his ability to eat as much as he desires. (Sapolsky) This shows how lack of education in adopting westernized culture can be detrimental to the health of the people in developing nations because their bodies are so fine tuned to use every bit of salt and nutrients that is in the food they eat, thus when they eat westernized food they gain considerable weight. Additionally, they don’t have access to stress relieving activities, nor is it common in their society to have things like gyms or dieting. Thus it is necessary to educate developing nations about the dangers of westernization in order to control the risks. It is likely not possible to stop westernization as it is inevitable as society changes. However, we can help attempt to change the ideas and stigmas surrounding westernized ideals and increase awareness about things like exercise, dieting, and stress relief in order to prevent things like hypertension.
Today in class we discussed the pros and cons of the polypill. Imagine you are 57 and have smoked all your life and live in a rural area where medical resources are rare. Would you take the polypill? Explain why or why not.
If I was 57 and lived in a rural area, I think I would try to take the pill if the formula for it had been refined and if the doctor or resource it came from gave me significant information on how the pill would benefit me in the long term and how I may be affected if I did not take the pill. Also if cost was not an issue I would definitely take it, however I feel that the pill would be very expensive and it would be difficult to keep renewing the prescription because the medical resources would be rare so it may be hard to stick to the daily routine of being medicated. Additionally, a lack of accessible water may be an issue in being able to stomach the pill each day. Also if I had been smoking all my life and started taking the polypill and continued smoking, the polypill may lose its effects, so I would likely have to change my entire lifestyle and stop smoking before taking the pill. If these factors were not a huge problem, and if the pill had been significantly tested and refined then I think it would be very beneficial to take it because my heart would likely already be at risk due to smoking.
Assuming we are in Belize how would you administer a polypill medication to patients? How would you help patients adhere to polypill treatment regimen?
If I was administering the polypill to patients in Belize I would emphasize education of what exactly the pill does, what the pill is, why it would be beneficial to take it, what cardiovascular disease is, and the daily commitment of taking the pill. I would also educate them on how the pill is not the end all be all of their health problems and that they will also have to make changes in their lifestyle like diet, exercise, and stress. In order to get them to remember to take the pill I would give them some sort of pill box with each day of the week along with a calendar or chart so they can mark off each day that they take the pill and so that they can remember to take it each day. This would definitely require a lot of commitment and self-motivation from each patient in order to make sure the program runs smoothly. If possible a physician from a local office or from the program should come down to each village every so often to check on how the patients are doing and to make sure there are no other problems that may come up.
Sanz, Gines, and Valentin Fuster. “Polypill and Global Cardiovascular Health Strategies.” Seminars in Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery 23.1 (2011): 24-29. Web.
Sapolsky, Robert M. pg. 199-210. The Trouble with Testosterone: And Other Essays on the Biology of the Human Predicament. New York, NY: Scribner, 1997. N. pag. Print.
Wald, N. J., and M. R. Law. “A Strategy to Reduce Cardiovascular Disease by More than 80%.” BMJ 326.7404 (2003): 1-6. Web.