Balancing a Bicultural Life: How it Can Improve Your Health

Young Asian American dancers during the Hmong  New Year Celebration

Young Asian American dancers during the Hmong New Year Celebration

We live in a country where over 300 languages are spoken at home and one can find a native from every corner of the world.    Built largely by immigrants, the United States is a melting pot, or a salad bowl perhaps, of varying cultures and traditions.  Leading a bicultural healthy life, therefore, is the ability of immigrants and refugees to bridge two cultures, the American mainstream culture and their culture of origin, into one that allows them to live healthfully and happily.

Right now, however, many in the immigrant and refugee community are unable to find this balance.  They are in the losing end of a battle to overcome serious health conditions such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.  Although seen as a “model minority”, Asian Americans are struggling.  With high infectious disease rates of Hepatitis B, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, prevailing mental health disorders including depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation, and an increasing number of obese and overweight members in the community, Asian Americans are not immune to the social and environmental factors that has deteriorated the health of all Americans.

By encouraging a bicultural healthy lifestyle, we hope that Asian Americans can find a path that allow both their Asian and American culture to co-exist with the ability to use one or both cultural protective factors when needed.

An example of a bicultural healthy practice is encouraging Tai Chi for 30 minutes a day as opposed to walking or running on the treadmill or employing the traditional Asian staple of rice, boiled vegetables and fish as opposed to eating in a fast food restaurant. 

This blog will explore the various ways and strategies to improve the health of Asian Americans and the community as a whole by living a bicultural healthy lifestyle.

Looking forward to your comments!

Topic for the Next Blog Post: Introducing the Asian Food Pyramid

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