Social Cultural Heritage Interview: Health Education

Do you speak a language other than English?

Yes, I speak Swedish as my primary language.

What is your sociocultural heritage?

I am of the Scandinavian heritage, from the country of Sweden. My family also has North Germanic roots which ethnoculturally similar to that of Scandinavian.

What major sociocultural events have occurred in your lifetime?

No major sociocultural events occurred. Sweden underwent a massive economic recession in the early 1990’s but was later accepted into the Eurozone, ensuring social stability. Sweden is impacted by some world events, including the immigration crisis which has led to the flood of foreigners to Europe.

What is the demographic profile of the community you grew up in? Has it changed; if so, how has it changed?

I grew up in the capital of Stockholm. It was a simple middle-class community. There was always an equal distribution amongst all age groups. The population was mostly Swedish with some minor groups of Fins and Norwegians. Non-European foreigners were a rare sight. Now, post the 2014 immigration crisis, the community has significantly shifted its demographics. There is an abundant number of Middle Eastern migrants. The city is unofficially divided up into pockets based on cultural origins. Fewer people have children now, so the average age has increased, with many people being over 40 years of age.

How would you acquire economic help if necessary?

Sweden maintains very strong government support of its population. A number of safety net programs exist that can be appliedto in times of economic need. The government attempts to combat poverty by offering welfare, vocational training, rehabilitation, and public housing to any residents in need.

How do you define health?

Health is considered to be the physical well-being of the body and mind. All aspects of human health are valued in Sweden, especially psychological or reproductive health that is often stigmatized in other countries. Health is seen as a necessary aspect of social prosperity; therefore, each individual’s well-being matters.

How do you define illness?

Illness is seen as anything that may affect the normal balance or function of the physical body.

What do you do to maintain and protect your health?

Sweden usually has good health education and awareness in place. This makes it easy for the population to recognize any signs that something is wrong with their health. The society is extremely conscious of health and safety. Preventive care is practiced by conducting regular screenings. Furthermore, with government support, many in Sweden are encouraged to lead a healthy lifestyle through activity, nutrition, and methods to reduce stress.

What do you do when you experience a noticeable change in your health?

Most people immediately see a doctor. The government encourages the use of the well-developed health system which allows choosing personal doctors. All visits and medications are paid for or heavily subsidized.

Do you diagnose yourown health problems? If yes, how do you do so? If no, why not?

Due to health education in Sweden, there is a certainlevel of awareness about personal health and prevalence of self-diagnosing. However, due to the high accessibility of healthcare, it is not common for Swedes to engage in this practice excessively. The increasingly digitized healthcare system in the country allows citizens access to electronic health records and medical literature for educational purposesthat can be used to make competent decisions about personal health.

From whom do you seek healthcare?

Healthcare in Sweden is offered at various levels. Each municipality has a wide variety of healthcare facilities based on specific needs. Local clinics are guaranteed to offer emergency and primary care as close to home as possible.

What do you do to restore your health? Give examples.

People are encouraged to look after personal health, so employers will usually allow time off for this purpose. Lifestyle changes are adopted when possible.Government-funded rehabilitation programs are in place for any instances that it may appropriate. Many Swedes may choose to take a mini-vacation to a sanatorium to restore health in the long run.

What are some examples of primary prevention, secondary prevention, and tertiary prevention activities you have engaged in during the past year?

For primary prevention, I choose to walk to work if possible since it allows to get my exercise in to prevent cardiovascular illness which I am genetically susceptible to. Regarding secondary prevention, I eat a low-carb, high protein diet and keep track of my spiking blood sugar. For tertiary prevention, I attend a physical therapy session to manage my early signs of rheumatoid arthritis.

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