Appalachian Culture – Social&Family Issues Example

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"Appalachian Culture" is a great example of a paper on social and family issues. A major concern among Appalachia is obesity, a condition that has resulted in various chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. Apparently, these conditions are attributable to a lack of physical activity that leads to increased gain in weight and reduced cardiovascular fitness. Consequently, the prevalent chronic ailments are because of barriers to acquire nutritious foods and opportunities for exercise. Insufficient income and lack of adequate transport serve as hindrances to adequate nutrition and exercise (Mcgarvey, Killos & Cohn, 2011).

Additionally, environmental conditions in Appalachia also result in poor feeding habits and physical inactivity that are the prime cause of diabetes and obesity. Moreover, grocery stores are few while convenience stores do not store fresh vegetables and low-fat milk. Another study conducted among the Appalachians revealed that adolescents consume junk food due to the unavailability of healthy alternatives. Minimal access to environmental resources for physical activity also contributes to diabetes prevalence because the residents lack the time and money to access facilities that are ideal for physical activity. Birth rites or Rituals                         The expectant mother must accept childbirth as a short, passionate, and natural process that brings her nearer to the earth thereby necessitating endurance.

In Appalachian culture, if a pregnant woman craves a certain food, she must consume that food or the offspring will develop a birthmark identical to the craved food. Death rites or rituals                       If there is death expectation, family and friends stay throughout the night. Apparently, funeral services can take three hours. However, this time varies regarding the age of the departed.

Therefore, funeral services for elderly individuals normally take longer than for a young individual. Body viewing either takes hours so that all individuals wishing to view may get ample time to do so. Surprisingly, after the service ends, all individuals wishing to view the body again get another chance, but the closest relative is the last individual who views the body (Gobble, 2009). However, the departed individual is normally buried in their best outfits. Surprisingly, a recurrent practice was burying the deceased with their personal possessions. After completion of the service, there were elaborate meals prepared for families and friends.

Moreover, singing was an important aspect during these funeral services. The clergy would assist the departed families during the entire grieving period by offering support and counseling. Eye contact practices                       In Appalachian culture, maintaining eye contact indicated hostility and aggression (Gobble, 2009). Most Appalachians were contented with silence and while communicating, they never used facial expressions. Apparently, Appalachians never trust or share their thoughts and feelings with strangers and are very sensitive to direct questions pertaining to personal issues. Therefore, they refrain from maintaining contact while communicating. Food practices as related to health and illness, and food intolerances                       The Appalachians considered wealth as having adequate food for families and friends.

Apparently, feeding habits among them included high cholesterol meat such as liver, heart, tongue, lungs, and brains (Mcgarvey, Killos & Cohn, 2011). The common foods among the Appalachians included sweet potatoes, pumpkin cakes, pickled beans, and cabbage. Additionally, they preserved meat using salt. Babies fed on sugar and coffee from the first month to promote hardiness because they believed that the sooner an offspring consume other foods apart from milk, the healthier it became.

Moreover, they believed that early consumption of solid foods would prevent nutritional allergies among children. Lastly, Adolescents skipped breakfast and lunch completely in preference of snack foods.                                  


Gobble, C. (2009). The value of story theory in providing culturally sensitive advanced practice

nursing in rural Appalachia. Online Journal of Rural Nursing & Health Care, 9 (1), 94-105.

Mcgarvey, E., Leon-verdin, M., Killos, L., Guterbock, T., & Cohn, W. (2011). Health disparities between Appalachian and non-Appalachian counties in virginiausa. Journal of

Community Health, 36(3), 348-356.

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