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The Navajos Cultural Healthcare Practices

Overview of the Navajos

The Navajos are the largest recognized tribe of the American population whose enrolled tribe members stand at 300,048 million members. The population of the Alaska people stands at 180, 462,100. Their place of residence is located along the Southwestern part of the US. For centuries, the populace has resided in America, and they embrace their traditional ideals (Albert, 2012). The people majorly practiced hunting, however, due to globalization, some cultural aspects of the practices of the people are beginning to erode. The erosion of the traditional practices is fueling the like hood of the masses shifting to modern cultural practices.

Demographic

Demographically, the Navajo people constitute a significant percentage of the US population. Their number that increases yearly stands at 180,462,100 people as indicated in the year 2010 US census report. The group lives in a wide area that is estimated to be 6,557.26 square kilometers in the Northeastern part of Arizona.

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Healthcare practices

For a long time, the Navajos people adopted the use of traditional medicine for treatment of diverse ailments. In the process, the herbal men coordinate with the elders in diagnosing different diseases. However, due to modernity, the community is progressively embracing some aspects of modern medicine by using preventive care such as taking children to hospitals for immunization (Albert, 2012). Unlike before when it was traditional for the elders to perform rituals that people believed prevented sickness, the community is adopting immunization for a disease like measles. Another practice of preventive health care that is evolving with time is the indulgence in physical activities as a means of enhancing the well-being of individuals.

Risk Behavior

Likewise, the major risks that the Navajos are faced with include health risks, economic challenges, and social disintegration. The risks are real given that the community has no definite approach to medication that may lead to drug poisoning, the community has been severely hit by the economic recession and differences in the religious practices are hindering social integration.

Genetic susceptibility to diseases

The community members are vulnerable to attracting various chronic diseases based on the type of food they consume. However, their susceptibility level is lower as compared to that of the Alaska people. The low vulnerability is attributable to the wide range of foodstuff that they consume. The foodstuffs include fruits, vegetables, mutton, bacon and sausages, soft drinks and another type of foods. Despite the effort to embrace a quality diet, the consumption of fatty foods remains high and this exposes them to diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and throat compilations (Sonneborn, 2007). The conditions require amicable solutions to curb their effects on the citizens.

Nutrition

Navajos people have good diet and nutrition practices as compared to the Alaska people whose diet is comprised heavily of high-fat foods. The Navajos try to maintain a balanced diet as evident in their menu that is characterized by energy-giving foods, vitamin, and body-building food items. The food items include but are not limited to vegetables, potatoes, bread, mutton, bacon, sausages, and soft drinks.

Spirituality

Concerning spirituality, the Navajo has an intact spiritual practice that is about the restoration of balance and harmony in individuals to have healthy lifestyles. They have believed in the concept of healing through beauty way ceremony for a long time (Sonneborn, 2007). The ceremony is presided over by a traditional medicine man who doubles up as the supernatural being. They practice chanting prayers, executing restoration ceremonies, offering sacrifices, and breaking curses.

Death Rituals

The community is also synonymous with death rituals that are conducted to cure taboos and break all forms of curses from witches and skinwalkers. The death rituals are done in planned ceremonies where animals are slaughtered, and the generated blood is used in piercing the gods.