Step 5 Self-assessment exercises: express concepts and ideas in your own words

5.1 Task 1: Summarising ideas

This task is designed to see if you can summarise ideas from course materials in your own words. Re-read the text ‘Whose health is it anyway’ [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]   in the previous section.

Now answer the following question in your own words:

Activity 3

What factors can be seen to affect health?

(Write about 175 words.)


Compare your answer with these sample answers. Which is most like yours?

Answer 1

An increasing interest in health appears to be shared by all of us: individuals, health professionals and government agencies. Smith and Goldblatt (2004) observe that information on health is readily available in the media and in books. Suggestions for improving individuals' health include dietary advice, food supplements and exercise. This advice implies that individuals can take responsibility for their own health by improving their lifestyles.

On the other hand, information from the same sources also mentions that factors which are not within our control can affect our health, such as atmospheric pollution. Medical discoveries indicate that genetic structures – which again are not within our individual control – are responsible for causing disease.

Smith and Goldblatt (2004) suggest that this debate over who or what is responsible for health and illness matters for individuals and also for society because there are moral, economic and policy implications, e.g. the amount of spending on health and time lost to the economy through ill health. It seems that a complex set of factors involving individual as well as social and biological factors affect our health.

Answer 2

Health seems to be very important to all of us. We come across a lot of advice on health in the media, and all of us, including doctors, health care workers and the government, take health issues very seriously. There is important information on what vitamins to take, what to eat, and how much to exercise so that we can lead a healthy lifestyle. We should also avoid pollution and genetically engineered foods and not get too stressed. It is important for individuals to look after themselves. This is quite expensive and in Britain 7 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product is spent on health care.

Answer 3

Health seems to play an increasing role in our everyday lives. It is difficult to pick up a newspaper or magazine, listen to the television or radio, or visit a bookshop without seeing a lot of information on health or exhortations to avoid certain foods, take certain vitamins or minerals and take regular exercise. Everyone is concerned with health. We can influence the extent to which we enjoy good health through the food we eat, the exercise we take (or don't take), the ‘good’ or ‘bad’ habits we have.

However, despite this rhetoric of responsibility for oneself, a close look at the same sources tells us that atmospheric pollution is a major problem. Many sources also suggest that feelings of being uneasy with ourselves and the stresses and strains of everyday life cause many illnesses.

In Britain, around 7 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (an indicator of the nation's income) is spent on health care services, whilst working time lost through illness places pressure on business and other organisations.

Answer 1 is the most effective answer. It covers the main points and tries to show what the debate is about and how it links to the question. The writer has presented the material in his or her own words, rather than copying directly from the course materials. The writer has also acknowledged the source of their ideas and information by referring to the writers of the materials – Smith and Goldblatt (2004).

Answer 2 is a little better than Answer 3 in that the writer has tried to express ideas in his or her own words. However, the writer presents these points in a fairly unstructured way and misses out some points about the debate regarding responsibility for health. He or she has not acknowledged the source of the ideas or information.

Answer 3 covers the main points. However, in many places the writer has copied the exact words from the course materials and has not acknowledged the source of the ideas or information.

5.1.1 Self-assessment