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Indian cultural practices and health risk

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This paper aims to report the cultural lifestyle factors of Asian Indians in Australia in relation to Coronary Heart Disease (CHD). This issue has not been previously explored in the Australian context. This study also seeks to identify factors that could inform health education and rehabilitation programs for migrant Asian Indians in Australia. The qualitative descriptive approach of constructivism was used for this study. Semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with eight patients and five family members. Participants were at risk for coronary heart disease either due to unhealthy diet and/or lack of physical exercise and irregular health checks. Although lifestyle modifications were implemented by participants after the cardiac event, these changes were implemented inconsistently and without continuity. Knowledge of the beneficial effects of a healthy diet did not deter the participants from continuing to follow unhealthy dietary habits. The introduction of any exercise or physical activity by participants in this study lacked consistency. A positive aspect revealed from this study was the influence of culture and religious faith, which helped patients and family members to cope with the illness trajectory. The results of this study suggest that health education and rehabilitation programs need to be designed specifically for this high-risk group would be beneficial when initiated early in life and need to be targeted to the individual

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