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The World Explained In Plain English.
The World Explained In Plain English.
Sociocultural Influences Affects Health


How Sociocultural Influences Affects Health

 In layman's terms - Where an individual lives, their age, gender, education and social status can influence their decisions about health.

 

When an individual gets involved in a specific type of sport, physical activity or eats certain kinds of food, it is usually a result of sociocultural influences (age, gender, ethnicity, social status, and education). Understanding the mindset of a group can be tricky because there are multiple factors that have to be consider. In this article, we look at the main sociocultural factors found in recent studies that may affect how people engage in healthy eating, fitness, and physical activity.

1. Relationship Between Age and Health Awareness

Recent studies show that individuals between 18 and 34 are more focused on health and make fitness decisions for themselves (rather than seek advice) compared to the older age group between 55 and 74. The younger generation has much more information and technology available to them than the older generation.

2. Environmental Factors

Environment Affects Physical Activity

Where individuals lived was another factor. Research found that individual's environment can affect whether they take a walk, cycle, or exercise. For instance, people living near parks were likelier to engage in physical activity than those living near a busy street. This is partially due to the belief that some areas are more dangerous. Parents may be discouraged from letting their kids play outside, fearing something may happen to them. The environment can also be a barrier to eating a healthy diet. Some towns may be far away from grocery stores and major supermarkets, limiting the available fresh, nutritious foods.

3. Social Status and Education

Studies have shown that in developed countries, people with higher incomes are less likely to be overweight or obese than those with lower incomes. High-wage earners can afford gym memberships, personal trainers, specialized instructors and are more educated on fitness and health. In fact, being aware of health risks related to obesity inspired individuals to get involved in physical activity and eat a healthy diet.

4. Ethnicity and Culture

Regarding immigration status, some studies have shown no difference between immigrants and locals when assessing their behaviors toward health. Other studies found that migrants had similar outcomes to those with lower incomes, suggesting that ethnicity may impact health based on how long someone has been living in a given country, how well they fit in, or their cultural and religious beliefs.

5. Gender and Attitudes Towards Sport and Diet

Sociocultural Influence on Food Shopping

Studies have also shown that males and females shop at supermarkets differently. Males are more likely to shop without caring about the food they grab, while females are more likely to pay attention to the nutritional value of foods. Likewise, males were more involved in sports or physical activity than females. Therefore it can be hard to suggest whether gender played a sociocultural role in health.

References

Aljayyousi, G.F., Abu Munshar, M., Al-Salim, F. and Osman, E.R., 2019. Addressing context to understand physical activity among Muslim university students: the role of gender, family, and culture. BMC public health, 19(1), pp.1-12.

Booth, S.L., Sallis, J.F., Ritenbaugh, C., Hill, J.O., Birch, L.L., Frank, L.D., Glanz, K., Himmelgreen, D.A., Mudd, M., Popkin, B.M. and Rickard, K.A., 2001. Environmental and societal factors affect food choice and physical activity: rationale, influences, and leverage points. Nutrition reviews, 59(3), pp.S21-S36.

Fedotova, V.A., 2019. Influence of socio-cultural factors upon the attitude towards health among Russians. Science and Society, (4), pp.115-127.

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