Marasmus in a 17-month-old Laotian: Impact of folk beliefs on health

Charles N Oberg, Amos S Deinard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The recent influx of Southeast Asians from Laos, Viet Nam, Cambodia, and Thailand into the United States has introduced a variety of foreign cultures into Western society. At times these cultures and folk beliefs clash with those of Western society. These beliefs frequently have ramifications on the health of individuals and implications for accommodation requirements for our health care system. Laos is comprised of a variety of ethnic groups including the Lao, Tai, Hmong, and Ka tribes. Each ethnic group has its own endogenous beliefs, but a belief in spirits or phi is evident in each. The following account is that of a Lao family, whose ethnic group accouts for 50% of the Laos population and 20% of the immigrants in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Further references to religious and/or folk beliefs will reflect those of this Lao ethnic group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)254-257
Number of pages4
JournalPediatrics
Volume73
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1984

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