• Christina Lissa Jakobsen
4. semester, Sociologi (cand.scient.soc), Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
The purpose of this thesis “Health perception of the youth” is to give an alternate opinion on, what causes body image disturbance in adolescence. It is known that the youth struggle with problems that comes from body dissatisfaction. There is no doubt about that media, peers and family are the most investigated factors in relation to youth body image. Next it is culture differences in body image, which is almost always investigated between countries. Body image is also investigated as a link to youth identity, because the body is the most important part of youth identity. Finally, youth body image is linked to youth perception of health – the youth believe, that if they are slim and pretty or muscular, they are also healthy - they link healthiness to beauty. In light of this, the thesis seeks to find out, if this is true, but instead of asking young people about their body image, it asks about the health perception to see if their health perception is linked to their body image.
The young people in this thesis have seen science theater focusing on different aspects of health and lifestyle. The science theater has been the starting point for asking students in Danish colleges about their health perception, and the students have filled out questionnaires and some have also been in focus groups to answer more detailed on the questions. In relation to the science theater this thesis also discusses the topics in the show as relevant to young people’s health perception.
The approach has been adaptive, which means that the questions weren’t built on theory, but the questions asks about aspects of health in light of the definition of World Health Organization, which is: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.
The quantitative data shows, that “being happy” is one of the most important factor for adolescence in relation to health. This is a question were 57,6% strongly agree with. 85,8% agree with it in general. The result also shows that 52,3% of the adolescence strongly agree in the fact that physical activity is an important factor of health, and 91,9% agree with it in general. Hereafter factors as healthy diet, friends and no smoking is also important factors. These results show that the young people have a nuanced understanding and perception of health. The young people think that physical activity and healthy diet have something to do with health, which relates to improving the physical wellbeing. But also, being happy and to have good friends as an expression of mental and social wellbeing.
The results from the focus groups support this, since the young people’s first instinct to answer “what is health to you?” is answers like “vegetables” and “physical activity”. There is no doubt about that care for the body, is one of the most important things for the youth, not only in relation to health. Almost everyone links health with beauty and body ideal. When the young people do mention things like being happy, have a good family or friends, they relate it to something with the body or physical wellbeing. Health is doing physical activity with friends, it is having fun while doing physical activity and the young people tell that if they feel stressed they do physical activity. That shows when asking about the mental and social wellbeing they relate it to something about the body. That does not mean that the youth don’t see the other aspects of health than the body, it simply means that the body is the ultimate most important factor.
In relation to analyzing these findings the theoretical perspective in this thesis is sociology of the body. The sociology of the body gives analytical tools to understanding which role the body plays in society. Knowing that the body is important for the youth and youth identity, it seems inevitably using theoretical perspective of identity. In this thesis, the perspective is in relation to the work of identity by Thomas Ziehe.
Finally, these findings when compared with the topics from the science theater are quite relevant in relation to youth health perception, because most of the topics is related to the body and, as we know from the analyses, the body is a huge part of youth health perception.

Udgivelsesdato5 feb. 2017
Antal sider100
ID: 250761873