Specific health behaviours have been identified to be positively associated with heath such as eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy body weight, exercising regularly, and some have been identified to be health risk behaviours e.g. smoking and drinking excessively (Housman and Dorman, 2005).
Health behaviour models examine why people participate in health behaviours. Odgen (2004) separates health behaviour models into two groups: 1. Social cognition models, which describe social behaviour in more general terms and normally as an outcome of subjective norms and attitudes to the specific behaviour. 2. Cognition models, which are specific health models, that ask more specifically why people adopt or do not adopt particular health related behaviours. They act factors such as the persons consideration of a personal health threat, the belief of the effectiveness and cues of action e.g. educational leaflets.
Social and cultural norms can be a great indicator for from where an individuals ' perceived health threat, barriers, effectiveness and cues of action come from. However people are not just a product of their sociocultural heritage. Biological and psychological aspects must be included when trying to asses why people participate in specific health behaviours.
The practice of health behaviours can be strongly culturally driven and can influence an individuals ' health behaviour in positive or negative ways. If communal norms are supportive and the perceived threat is great, no barriers stand between the individual and the execution of specific health behaviours. Especially some religious communities seem to be supportive of health behaviour...
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...But also ethnic and social-economical status can lead to health inequalities. Low educational attainment and low availability of healthy food choices reducing the perceived threat of disease and discourage from positive health behaviours. However, individual 's personal differences must not be overseen. Biological and psychological differences interplay with sociocultural factors and create human health behaviours. The study of health psychology can help to make those connections and play a key role in creating health promoting programmes that equally educate people about benefits of adoption specific health behaviours and raise awareness of susceptibility. Hopefully, this will lead to a reduction of negative attitudes and barriers towards positive health behaviours, that more people, from every sociocultural background adapt positive health behaviours in the future.
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