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University of Toronto Scarborough
Health Studies
Caroline Barakat

HLTB17 NOTES WEEK 11 • We all occupy different social locations. (why is someone unhealthy? SOCIAL LOCATION) • There are different dynamics that affect our health and how we experience health and illness. • Health differences produced by overlapping inequalities. Health promotion is the strategy to try and make people healthier. • Participaction: longest running health promotion campaign in the world • Try to encourage physical activity and a healthy lifestyle, but they don’t work • They target the lifestyle • There is a link between individual health consciousness and perventive health behaviours • So government people try to increase people’s awareness of healthy lifestyles • Provide them with the right information to educate them, and the assumption is that the education will lead to better choices, which will lead to better health overall • new health campaigns focus on health knowledge and education • Make people aware of their health risks • The focus is always on the individual to be healthy, they are held accountable for their own health, responsible for being healthy and trying to be healthier • transforming citizens into medical consumers (health videos, books, magazines, drugs etc) • Medical consumerism = neoliberal approach = pay for it • People are the cause and solution of their health • leads to blaming people • This takes pressure off the government • you’re sick because of your own bad lifestyle choices • Health sociologists: But lifestyle choices are influenced by social location (gender, ethnicity, sexuality etc) • smoking, alcohol use, having a crappy diet, follows social gradient • More money = healthier lifestyle • THIS MEANS: means that health disparities cannot be addressed through an individualized lifestyle focus •  Taking pressure off government 1. Examines people’s behaviour in isolation of broader social constrains of their life 1. Context stripping – decontexualization 2. It blames the victim. 3. It takes focus off the ways inequality contributes to poor health. 4. It assumes that knowledge will lead to action. • 85% of Canadians knew that smoking leads to lung cancer • But people still smoke • So health knowledge is not leading to different health behaviours • Canada did 3 things that lead to a huge decline of smoking rates: • 1. when smoking became highly stigmatized • 2. inconvenient – can’t smoke in public places • 3. expensive - increase cost of packages • Now they advertise in developing countries (india, china etc) • You have to change the social environment that produces it. • Money spent on public health campaigns would be better spent if it was toward the SDOH • Ex. providing more jobs with benefits • Those who are in a bad part of the social gradient are more likely to develop risk taking behaviour because they need to cope • These unhealthy behaviours are culturally and location-wise behaviours (best way for them to handle what is going on in their lives) • The risks may not become apparent until later on in life • Researchers say we perform many health behaviours out of habit • The less well off are less likely to change their behaviours in response to a health promotion campaign • due to their greater reliance on their habits • health promotion campaigns are useless when compared to the effect of the SDOH • if you want to make changes, you have to see why are healthy people healthy • just because individuals enforce healthy behaviours in one part of their life, they might not be in another aspect of their life • people aren’t healthy in all areas • Personal health behaviours are complex and sometimes they are contradictory • ex 1. Lacks a social insight: How broade
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