Today, Longevity Exercise Physiology Drummoyne, EdgecliffMarrickvilleCastle HillRandwickPymble, Kingsgrove, Neutral Bay, Coburg – Melbourne, and Barrie, Ontario – Canada look at the subtle yet important differences in health attitudes seen in the different demographics through the perspective of Jackie, our lead Exercise Physiologist at Longevity Castle Hill.

 

Jackie:

We know Sydney is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, with almost 50% of all residents being born overseas. Growing up in Baulkham Hills and frequenting surrounding suburbs like Blacktown and Parramatta as a kid, to finally working as an adult in Bella Vista and Castle Hill, I was quite lucky to experience this diversity firsthand.

Now, working in the health industry, I’ve come to realise how important it is to understand (and challenge) some of the health perspectives bred from the various cultures, when leading people towards a healthier version of themselves.

Let me show you what I’m talking about.

Coming from a Chinese background, I was always surrounded by a constant worshipping of Doctors and Surgeons due to the prevailing attitudes of parents and relatives. These health professions were held in high regard in our culture and most kids strived to become these when growing up. The idea was that medicine had the answer to most things and the word “cure” was the biggest buzzword around town. These beliefs were quite typical within my culture, and my friends from other Asian or Middle Eastern backgrounds also had similar views espoused by their immediate and surrounding circles. Over the years, it was obvious to me that their attitudes and beliefs aligned with the traditional medical model of curative health care, which aimed to restore and maintain health by treating people after they fell ill. This would commonly be done through medication, surgical interventions, and physical therapy.

My only question is, has healthcare been emphasising too much on curative care?

As I grew up into high school and University, I recognised a different healthcare strategy centred around prevention and maintenance, especially for a vast abundance of diseases and illnesses that couldn’t be cured or reversed after their onset. These include Cancers, Type 2 Diabetes, Arthritis, Dementia, Parkinson’s, Kidney disease and autoimmune diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis. I realised how common these diseases were across my community as I grew older. For example, I found out my neighbour experienced a stroke at one point and my Grandpa suffered with a heart condition. The strategy emphasised positive lifestyle habits, adopting structured exercise and healthy eating.

However, a large majority of the people who put high value on and were knowledgeable about this model of healthcare, were those who were born and raised in Australia. In fact, Australia is one of the countries where Exercise Physiology as a profession is most recognised, but people who were raised overseas may not have had the same understanding. I realised that most people from non-Western cultures had no idea what Exercise Physiology was, and the fact that it could prevent, maintain, or even reverse medical conditions. Most people would prefer to make a quick trip to the doctor, get some tablets or injections for their issues.

But at what cost?

What if they were able to prevent their diabetes and avoid the ongoing cost of injections?

What if they were able to reduce their risk of having a stroke so that they wouldn’t require ongoing rehab to maintain their function?

 

We now know exercise as a major role in managing chronic diseases and improving specific outcomes, but we can tackle the problem from both ends.

 

Why cure when we can prevent the disease and save millions of dollars on healthcare expenses?

Why keep taking medication for a quick fix when they have numerous side effects that lead to other problems down the track?

 

I am not undermining the utmost importance of traditional medicine, as it has a massive role in assisting with a patient’s healthcare management, but I absolutely do believe that healthcare has been skewed towards curative care rather than preventative, and this may be a by-product of cultural paradigms and attitudes. These will not change overnight, but here at Longevity Exercise Physiology, we are all about leading that change for our community.

Being in such a diverse country, every person is going to have a completely different attitudes and beliefs. We will always be here to understand you, support you and give you the best possible care for your health, regardless of your background. We are the experts in exercise so give us a call on 1300 964 002 to see what we can do for you!

 

Written by Jackie Cheung