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Social Capital and Promotion of Health - Essay Example

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Social capital is the shared knowledge, understandings, norms, rules, and expectations about patterns of interactions that groups of individuals bring to a recurrent activity. Social capital takes many different forms. Researchers have identified social capital as involving networks, norms, and social beliefs that evolve out of processes that are not overtly investment activities (Lindstrm, 2006)…
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Social Capital and Promotion of Health
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Social Capital and Promotion of Health

Download file to see previous pages... Social capital may be closely related to health and health behaviour since there are health is a form of social capital. All forms of social capital have the following attributes. Social capital is formed over time and is embedded in common understanding rather than in physically obvious structures. Common understanding is hard to articulate precisely in language. Common understanding is easily eroded if large numbers of people are concerned or if a large proportion of participants change rapidly-unless substantial efforts are devoted to transmission of the common understandings, monitoring behavior in conformance with common understandings, and sanctioning behavior not in conformance with the common understanding. Therefore health as a form of social capital must be promoted in order to determine, monitor, and modify health behaviours (Emmons et al., 2007).
Health and illness are social as well as biological facts. Researchers have commented that the definition and classification of disease is inevitably to some extent socially constructed, and 'normality' itself is a relative and judgmental concept (Pearce and Smith, 2003). Not going into the details of health, it can be stated that the definition of health, therefore, is essentially multi-dimensional and relative. It includes both objective and subjective components and attempts to consider the positive as well as the negative range. Lifestyle on the other hand, now, is a popular concept, which is often used to mean voluntary lifestyles only (Wen et al., 2007). These include the choices people make in terms of their behaviours and consumption patterns. In relation to health, food habits, smoking and drinking, and ways of spending leisure time are often considered as most relevant. It has now been recognised that styles of living do also have economic and cultural dimensions, often the concept of social class and lifestyles are correlated (Tomlinson, 2003). There is overwhelming evidence for persistent socio-economic influences upon health. In fact people's ways of living are directly influenced by income, work, housing, and the physical and social environments. These influence behaviour and are to be regarded as factors influencing health (Harpham et al., 2002).
This means the concept of lifestyle is a collectivist one in contrast to personal behaviours projected as risk factors placing responsibility firmly on the individual and the family. Now health is regarded as a life course event indicating individual and population health develops through interactions between biological and environmental factors during the lifetime (Halfon and Hochstein, 2002). This means people's experience in early years influence health in later life. However, research has also shown that economic and social conditions influence health. There is considerable evidence that material deprivation affects the development of young children, and that the effects of this can continue into adult life (Hertzman, 1999). Social class, viewed as a distributional measure, is the most commonly used index of social circumstances. Social circumstances are important in health promotion since it is difficult to change a lifestyle without altering social, economic, and other environments. Ideally health ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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