Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone’s life, animating the debate that considers health as the ability to adapt to live with chronic disease and to self-manage, dating back to the early 2000s. Since the pandemic has changed the panorama of epidemiology, this has influenced the way people perceive their health. Objectives: The aim of this exploratory research is to investigate if people’s perception of their health has changed since the outbreak of the pandemic, and to explore how the meaning of health has changed. This research is part of PandHEMOT Project, which aims to develop a web application to promote children and adolescents’ knowledge of health behaviours and emotional preparedness. Methods: A semistructured interview was used to collect data on the experts’ perspectives on the meaning of health. 25 Italian experts with diverse backgrounds and work environments (primary/secondary school teachers, Civil Protection Department experts, psychologists, health sociologists, paediatricians, Public Health doctors, a hygienist doctor, and a security officer) were interviewed. The interviews were carried out since October 2021 to January 2022. Consent forms were collected and all data were anonymized. The collected data were analysed by content analysis. Results: The first results confirm that the meaning of health has changed. COVID-19 has stimulated people to think that health is not only physical pain, but there are also a mental and a social dimension that both affect individual health. The lockdown restrictions showed that social relationships are a significant component of health. Furthermore, our findings indicate that the fear for one’s health has resurfaced, and more attention is paid to symptoms that were not fully considered before. Discussion/conclusions: The very first evidence suggests that people improve the perception that health has both an individual and a social component.
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