Causative Factors for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Aboriginal Communities

Sociology of Food and Nutrition
Essay 2
Alison Bongard
Student Number: 237001
Submission date: 7th October 2012
Word count: 1550

From before we are conceived to the time that we die, social practices constantly affect our health and wellbeing.   When comparing the Australian Aboriginal community to the rest of the Australian population there are many differences that need to be taken into account when medical treatment is required.   These differences included the basic lay understandings and perceptions of health and illness within the community, plus the powerful relationship between people and food (Nettleton 2006, p.1).   Non Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus is one many preventable chronic diseases that burden Indigenous Australian communities. The burden of these chronic diseases is estimated to be two and a half times greater than that of the wider Australian population, which has lead to a substantial 17-year difference in their life expectancy (AIDA 2008, p.1).   In order to reduce this gap, more appropriate research methods that explore the economic, social and environmental
factors in conjunction with the individual, physical and biological factors need to be utilized when addressing the current food and nutrition issues.

  To be able to adequately treat an individual and it must be first understood what their lay understandings and perceptions of health and illness are. The philosophies about health and wellness that are held by our peers and the people we live with, greatly impact our own experiences and understandings (Nettleton 2006, p.1).   Factors such as race, ethnicity and cultural beliefs also have a big impact on lay understandings and how an individual may perceive health and illness (Young 2004, p. 19).   When examining the lay health beliefs of a person, it must be acknowledge that these views are more complex than simply diluted versions of medical knowledge. Nettleton (2006, p.34) states, “ Lay beliefs are shaped by...