There are some issues when it comes to looking at how social context may influence the ability of health education campaigns to change behaviour in relation to health. One of these issues is financial constraint. This issue can put pressure on the public to try and fulfil leading a healthy lifestyle. Many people may not be able to afford the prices of healthy foods, for example; fresh fruit and vegetables, because of this they may feel inclined to go for meals which are quick to cook and cheap to buy. For example, eating in fast food restaurants seems to be a popular option, cheap and not much hassle seeing as someone else is cooking their food for them. What they do not know is that by eating this food, they are not maintaining the nutrients they need in order to have a healthy lifestyle.
This is where campaigns come into place to give the public the information they need to know on how to make healthy meals at home which are less costly. A campaign was released called ‘Change 4 Life’. A campaign basically encouraging the public to eat well, move more and live longer. Change for life is a society-wide movement who’s aim is to prevent people from becoming overweight by encouraging them to eat better and exercise more.
Change for life is the marketing component of the government’s response to the high rises in obesity. A way change for life tries to encourage the public to eat well is by providing things like money off vouchers that the public can use in local supermarkets to encourage them to buy more fruit and vegetables for the home, enabling them to add these into the diet there for eating better. It also helps on the financial front as if their excuse was they cannot afford these certain types of foods, the vouchers will help them in being able to afford them. A negative aspect of this campaign would be that once families have used these vouchers as a ‘one off’ they will then go back to normal habits as they will again, not be able to afford the healthier options when it comes to food. (http://www.nhs.uk/change4life/Pages/change-for-life.aspx)
another issue which contributes to how the social context may influence the ability of health education campaigns to change behaviour in relation to health would be social class. If someone is of a lower class, they face financial restraint when it comes to having a healthy lifestyle, as we looked at before, they will be making choices related to what they can afford, not what is best for their health. However, someone of a higher class with a bit more wealth, would be able to afford the healthier choices, therefore meaning that they are able to maintain a healthy lifestyle. For example; buying the healthier foods, having a gym membership etc… for someone on a lower income who has to budget their money to quite an extent may find it difficult to pay for things like gym memberships so they will have to do exercise in their own home or in public. This may be a problem for some people as they may not feel comfortable exercising in public, resulting in them staying at home and eating more. However, you can buy a lot more things on the market to help you to be able to exercise in the comfort of your own home. For example fitness DVD’s which enable you to fit the exercise you need into your day, meaning you do not have to leave home for hours on end going to the gym or going to various fitness classes which you have to pay weekly for.
Peer pressure is also an issue which affects how the social context may influence the ability of health education campaigns to change behaviour in relation to health. When growing up, your friends have a huge impact on your life without you realising it. You can get yourself into bad habits which have a negative effect on your health or you can get yourself into good habits which effect your health in a positive way. Friendship groups tend to do things together, without singling anybody out so this can have a great impact on how young people live their lives.
If your friendship group has a positive look on healthy living, this may mean that you all eat well together as a group and do activities where you can all exercise together as well. For example; joining a sport team. A lot of people join a sport team in order to make friends with a similar outlook on healthy lifestyles, which is a really good idea. There is no use surrounding yourself with people who want to eat junk food everyday and do no exercise at all if that is not the lifestyle you want to lead.
Peer pressure can also have a negative effect on how one lives their life. If some of those in a friendship group like to binge drink on a weekend even though a couple feel like it is not the right thing to do, they may find themselves doing it anyway so refrain from feeling left out and ‘missing out’ on what events will happen. Binge drinking has a large impact on health as it can cause all different types of issues in the body. Instead of saying ‘no’ to whatever unhealthy activities the friendship group has planned, they will go along with it anyway to maintain their social status and avoid being singled out. This will also have an impact on how young adults look at campaigns, if their friends are not interested, they won’t be either.