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Social Science and Public Health - Essay Example

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Patch # Topic Pg. #
1. Critique of the use of the concept of risk within public health 2
2. Sociological critique of health surveillance and screening 5
3. Persistence of health inequalities in modern Britain 8
4. Summary 11
References 14
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Social Science and Public Health
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Social Science and Public Health

Download file to see previous pages... Individual health, has assumed supreme significance in the western societies, as is apparent from the health related messages indicating at the vulnerability of the human body. Such messages citing health risks associated with a range of factors tend to influence and at times alarm the consumers regarding their health. The rise in use of the concept of risks associated with almost all aspects of human life is indicative of emergence of a new global trend, which signals a crisis whereby individuals and society as a whole are required to consider and respond (Riegelman, 2009). The new public health, as a result, finds itself in the midst of a growing trend whereby the changing health environment is flooded with messages related to risks in virtually all aspects of one's everyday life (Adelhard and Obst (1999). The emergence of such a trend and its effortless assimilation in our everyday lives, has led to an uncritical and unconditional acceptance within the arena of public health - a trend which is described as highly disturbing by some critics (Petersen and Lupton, 1996).
The significant rise in the use of the concept of risk within the field of public health has alarmed the medical community. The trend of risk identification and intervention has triggered a series of negative reactions from the patients, who are mostly anxious and become concerned about their health issues. The excessive use of risks and its constant promotion causes baseless fears in the minds of the patients, who are rendered helpless, and lack adequate means to verify the claims made since their concept of risks associated with their health vary significantly than the risk factors identified by health professionals (Bennett, Calman & Curtis, 2010). Also, it is argued that the funds invested in identifying certain health risks might be employed in other meaningful activities. Some critics have raised concerns over the excessive use of risk stating that it may be exploited by certain commercial interests for their benefit, and for furthering their own corporate agenda (such as sale of their prescription drugs, for instance) at the cost of the unsuspecting patients (Nexoe, Halvorsen and Kristiansen, 2007).   The concept of risks and health intervention within the field of public health have been associated with identifying and assessing the risks likely to be faced by "problem groups" such as people prone to obesity and other lifestyle diseases such as hypertension, stress, etc; people suffering from addiction such as chain smokers, alcoholics etc. Public health in modern times is concerned with developing and promoting various aspects of health and healthy living through various promotional and intervention measures such as through health education campaigns, and community development; establishing and promoting policies aimed at dietary regulation and monitoring through periodic screening of various population groups. Such a trend characterised by high promotion of health and prevention of diseases are executed on the basis of a systematic assessment of risks. According to Petersen and Bunton (1997) "The encroachment of health promotion into these areas has multiplied the number of sites for preventive action, and given rise to an endless parade of 'at risk' populations and 'risky' situations" (Petersen and Bunton, 1997, pp. 194-95) The increasing appearance and use of the concept of risk within the field of public health in the 21st century, is a consequence of contemporary ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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