Their are a number of implications of different perceptions of health. This is true for the individual and for society as a whole. It is important that a person’s perception of their health is as accurate as possible in order to guide their behaviour in the correct direction. If a society has an false perception of what health is, this can also have a negative impact on the health of individuals, governments, organisations and more.
How might an individual’s perception of health affect their behaviour and wellbeing?
At an individual level the implications of different perceptions of health relates to a person with an inaccurate perception. A classic example of this is a person with anorexia. Such a person continually sees themselves as overweight and unhealthy leading to them not eating. However, it does not have to be so drastic. It could be a person who goes to the gym regularly to increase muscle mass, and believes that they are healthy. However, they are not eating fruit or vegetables, spending little time with their family and friends and often feel sad or angry.
In contrast to someone with a different perception, a person with a correct perception of their health may acknowledge that they are overweight and that their weight makes them more likely to have a range of lifestyle diseases: hypertension, cardiovascular disease, cancer etc. Such as person may then change their diet, cut out refined sugars, soft drinks, and consume more fruit and vegetables to correct their health.
As a society, the implications of different perceptions of health can be devastating for the health of a country. If our perception of health is different to the truth, then our actions will not improve our health, and may in fact make it worse. An example of this may be a society who thinks that being beautiful is the same as being healthy. This can lead people to go to great extents – anorexia, fad dieting, surgery, drugs etc – to be “beautiful” thinking that being beautiful also means they are healthy.
Another possibility is a society that gives too much power to pharmaceutical companies who then control government legislation, academic organisations, and produce mass advertising. This leads people to think that the drugs produced by the pharmaceutical companies are safe and effective, when it may not be the case. For example, the companies advertisements make us think that it is ok to fix a headache caused by dehydration or low blood sugar, by taking a drug, rather than drinking water or eating a meal. The companies may also fund a university or Journal alive to public research, which now focuses on the positive effects of the drugs. Such a society may then begin to become over-reliant on the drug and may produce further health problems. An example of this may be the production of superbugs after the over use of antibiotics.
These are just some of the implications of different perceptions of health. The implications of different perceptions of health then can have a large impact upon the health of individuals and society as a whole.