Intensity of Czech citizens´ concerns about their own health

Jana Menšíková

Researcher, jana.mensikova@inesan.eu 

June 14th, 2015

 

Key words: health, health attention, intensity of watching one’s own health

Without a doubt, health is one of the most important elements in everyone’s life. In order to be able to pursue everyday activities (go to work, attend hobbies, play sports, etc.), we should know the state of our own health (how we feel, how often we are sick, etc.). Watching one’s own health can provide an alert that will tell us if something goes wrong. Responding to changes and potential health complications is easier that way. The intensity of attention to one’s health depends on each individual. How much attention do we pay to our own health, or do we pay any attention at all?

The Institute for Evaluations and Social Analyses (INESAN) conducted research entitled “Health consciousness of Czech inhabitants” in March 2014, which focused on the Czech Republic citizens’ active interest in their own health. Respondents were chosen using the quota technique and the sample included the representatives of the general population of the Czech Republic aged 18 to 64. Respondents were chosen using the quota sampling method in order to represent the basic population in terms of gender, age, education, region and settlement. Data was analysed on the basis of 2,135 interviews.

Paying attention to one’s own health is one of the dimensions of health awareness, which has a major influence on how we handle our own health. In effect, watching one’s health illustrates the frequency of the specific actions related to monitoring one’s own health during the day. The intensity of monitoring one’s own health reflects the high urgency of personal health, which manifests in frequent attention paid to one’s own feelings. It is characterised by the statements: “I notice how I feel physically during the day” and “I think about my health during the day”.

The survey shows that the citizens of the Czech Republic pay attention to their health – not only do they think about it during the day (30%), they also notice how they feel physically during the day (41 %). The intensity of attention paid to one’s health increases with age: 41 % of people older than 60 years think about their health during the day and as many as one half of people aged over 60 notices their physical condition during the day. On the other hand 57 % of people aged less than 30 never think about their health during the day, and 44 % of people aged less than 30 never notice their physical health. Older people face a significantly greater threat of sicknesses and health complications that may lead to death. Paying more attention to one’s own health can give older people assurance and often save their lives.

The results furthermore show that the intensity of attention paid to one’s health is not influenced only by the person’s age but also by their lifestyle and physical activity. Many studies on a healthy diet state that a positive effect on health and the functioning of the body (blood circulation, digestive system, etc.) has a balanced intake of fruits, vegetables, fibre, sugar, fat and other food constituents. The analysis compared the answers by respondents with various BMI (Body Mass Index). BMI calculation works with the age, height, weight and gender of the respondents who provided this input during the interview. Calculated results were further analysed and divided into four groups based on the degree of obesity. In total, 67 % of people aged less than 30 suffering from heavy obesity notice their physical condition during the day and think about it intensively.

Higher intensity of watching one’s own health is also apparent in people with university education (46 %) and with right-wing political orientation (47 %). Education gives more knowledge in multiple areas including health to the individuals. They can identify negative risks affecting the health and protect themselves from them. The effect of political orientation just completes the overall attitude of an individual which means a higher degree of individualism and greater concerns about one’s health.

 

 

The research results confirm that the citizens of the Czech Republic pay attention to their own health in terms of both physical condition and their own feelings related to their condition during the day. The motivation for monitoring one’s own health is different with each individual and depends on many circumstances that may overlap.

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