Wray, Sharon (2007) Health, Exercise, and Well-Being: The Experiences of Midlife Women from Diverse Ethnic Backgrounds. Social Theory & Health, 5 (2). pp. 126-144. ISSN 1477-8211

This paper examines midlife women's experiences of exercise and health promotion initiatives and the extent to which these contribute to health and well-being. Many attempts have been made to conceptualise well-being and construct ways of measuring it. An argument of this paper is that these conceptualizations have tended to be overly dominated by psychological and physiological concerns, leading to a neglect of well-being as a socially located phenomenon. Further, understandings of well-being have come to be associated with individualistic notions of agency that emphasize the self as the primary agent of personal well-being. This is evident in recent initiatives that seek to promote participation in exercise regimes as key ingredients of health and well-being. Drawing on qualitative research with Pakistani, British Muslim, white English, British, African Caribbean, black, and West Indian women, the aims of this paper are three-fold. First, to examine current perspectives on well-being and their relationship to individualized notions of responsibility for health. Second, to consider the extent to which health promotion advice empowers midlife women and contributes toward their health and well-being. Third, to question how these initiatives are perceived and experienced by women across ethnic diversity

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