In the current research, most parents reported an average level of health behaviours, and 25% reported a high level.
It is believed that greater health behaviour awareness in the family results in better the health effects for its individual members . The present and future health of the family system and all its members depends largely on the parents' actions, decisions, conduct, choices, and preferred lifestyle. It should be noted that parents raise children based not only on scientific and popular science knowledge but also on colloquial knowledge. These types of knowledge may have a positive or negative influence on the development of family behaviour patterns, the introduction of modifications and changes in behaviours and the consolidation of previously understood attitudes, including those related to health .
In the currently studied population, all categories of studied health behaviours (proper eating habits, preventive behaviours, a positive mental attitude, and health practices) were at a similar level; however, the most frequent behaviours was a positive mental attitude.
In the literature on the subject, health behaviours include the conscious undertaking of health-oriented actions (various behaviours related to physical health, mental health, self-management of health, preventive examinations, safe behaviours in everyday life, common sense behaviour regarding diseases) and the elimination of all activities that pose a threat to life and health, both directly and in the long term (e.g., abstaining from tobacco, alcohol, recreational drugs, and psychoactive substances) . One of the most important health behaviours is vaccination, which is the most effective preventive method for combating diseases.
A survey of a representative sample of 990 adults in Poland showed that 79% of respondents considered vaccinations the most effective way to protect children from serious diseases.
The vast majority of the surveyed parents (96.3%) declared that they vaccinated their children. The aforementioned survey of a representative random sample of 990 adults in Poland showed that 79% of respondents thought that vaccinating children causes more good than harm .
The present study showed that parents’ health behaviours were not statistically correlated their beliefs regarding the vaccination system, the quality of the vaccines used in Poland, the general obligation to gain immunity through "sickness," the need to vaccinate against all diseases and the acceptance of unvaccinated children in nurseries and kindergartens.
Some vaccinations are paid for by parents in Poland; in other countries, they are financed by the state or health insurers. Regarding the financial responsibility of the health care system, changes to the current vaccination programme have introduced a gradual shift from paid to unpaid vaccinations in Poland.
Almost three-quarters of adult Poles (73%) in a sample of 990 adult Polish residents reported that at least a some vaccinations should be obligatory, while 23% advocated that all vaccinations should be voluntary .
At present, many parents forego vaccinations. Negative opinions that undermine the effectiveness and safety of preventive vaccinations as a form of infection prevention are widely disseminated . There are so-called anti-vaccine movements that aim to reduce mass vaccination. On online portals and forums, there is information regarding the harmfulness of preventive vaccinations, complications arising from vaccinations, and the impact of mercury on the emergence of autism, autoimmune diseases, or weakening of the body's resistance. Anti-vaccine content is also spread among those who use homeopathic and natural medicine . A negative example of the dissemination of false information regarding vaccinations was the investigation by Wakefield, who put forward the concept of a relationship between the MMR vaccination and autism .
The elimination of measles in Europe is an urgent public health goal, yet despite the efforts of its member states, vaccination gaps and outbreaks occur. In a recent study from Germany, the authors found that 7.1% of children did not provide a vaccination certificate . Furthermore, they concluded that the coverage for at least one measles vaccination was higher in the studied county than in most South German counties and higher than the European average.
In the present study, parents who believed that vaccines can cause autism showed a significantly higher level of prophylactic behaviour. Statistically, there were significant differences in health behaviour levels related to views on the toxicity of vaccines, mainly in terms of proper eating habits and a positive mental attitude.
In summary, it is worth re-emphasizing that the family, as the most important, most basic social group on which society is based, should provide future generations with educational development, including vaccinations, based on cooperation with health care units and other educational units.