Exploring targeted preventive health checks in a socially disadvantaged neighborhood in Denmark

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Recently studies have focused on how health promotion interventions sometimes sideline issues of social context, framing health as a matter of individual choice and, by implication, a personal responsibility. Part of this criticism is that health promotion interventions often do not draw on situated understandings of the contextual aspects of health and illness practices. Theoretically, this study departs in practice theory and contemporary public heath discussions on targeted health promotion. Based on semi-structured interviews with 18 people living in a social housing association we explored the significance of participating in a preventive health check and how participation configured into everyday life. All participants in our study had been identified with a 'risk' health profile. Overall, we found that they were well aware of their health risks and challenges, and that they reflected a great deal on how their health status was intrinsically linked with their lifestyle and health practices, such as lack of exercise or smoking. The health checks were, however, not able to support or improve their general health, and did not seem to address the challenges the participants seemed to struggle with in life. By way of conclusion, we suggest that we implement a more practice-oriented form of public health that focus on the 'lives' that people live, and the problems that they face. Moreover, attention should be paid to how and to whom health promotion initiatives are offered, in order to ensure the relevance of targeted interventions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHealth Promotion International
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1150–1158
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020

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