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WHAT IS HEALTH PROMOTION?

           Health promotion is a broad field encompassing educational, social, economic, and political efforts to improve the health of a population. Health education, health protection, and disease prevention form the essential triad of health promotion. Health promotion is practiced in a variety of settings schools, churches, worksites, health care facilities, voluntary health agencies, health maintenance organizations, correctional institutions, private clubs, and self-help groups-by practitioners of varied backgrounds and occupations- physicians, nurses, exercise scientists, nutritionists, social workers, physical therapists, and health educators. Health promotion workers put health on the agenda of policy makers, directing them to be aware of the health consequences of their decisions and to accept  their responsibilities for public health (Monash Health Promotion Unit,1999). It has unified a number of separate, even disparate, fields of study under one umbrella and now forms an important part of the health services of most industrially developed countries (Macdonald & Bunton, 1992). Healthy People 2000 (U .S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1991),  a publication that guided the nation's health promotion efforts for nearly a decade, contained the words, ?Health promotion and disease prevention comprise perhaps our best opportunity to reduce the ever- increasing portion of our resources which we spend to treat preventable illness and functional impairment."

 exercise

        Two of the most commonly quoted definitions of health promotion are

        A planned combination of educational) political) regulatory) and organizational supports for actions and conditions of living conducive to the health of individuals) groups) or communities (Green & Kreuter) 1999).

        The process of enabling people to increase control over and to improve their health. . . a commitment to dealing with the challenges of reducing inequities) extending the scope of prevention) and helping people to cope with their circumstances. . . creating environments conducive to health) in which people are better able to take care of themselves (World Health Organization) 1986) .

        The definitions imply a broad spectrum of interventions. Health promotion attempts to promote adaptations and adjustments in individuals and 

 

communities to encourage maintenance and improvement of the health of whole populations, usually by applying wellness principles to organizations and institutions. These adaptations and adjust- ments may be attitudinal, environmental, or behavioral, but all are directed toward sustaining or increasing the level of well- being, self -actualization, and fulfillment (Teague & McGhee, 1992) . It is also appropriate for health promotion tQ3function on an economic level, given that larger gaps between the haves and have nots correlate strikingly with increased mortality rates among the have nots. The gap between rich and poor children is greater in the United States than in any other industrialized country (Seffrin, 1997)-one reason that reducing health disparities has become a national goal (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2000) .     

           The Working Group on Concepts and Principles in Health Promotion (1987) listed the basic characteristics of health promotion as

           1. Enabling people to take control over, and responsibility for, their health as an important component of everyday life-both as spontaneous and as organized action for health

           2. Requiring the close cooperation of sectors beyond the health services, reflecting the diversity of conditions that influence health

           3.Combining diverse, but complementary, methods or approaches, including communication, education, legislation, fiscal measures, organizational changes, community development, and spontaneous local activities against health hazards

           4. Encouraging effective and concrete public participation, encompassing the development of individual and collective problem-solving and decision - 

exercise

 

 making skills and involving health professionals in education and health advocacy, particularly those in primary care

           Health promotion is arena-based in the sense that it seeks to deal with whole populations and their needs and strengths. Health promotion is less effective when it attempts to lessen the effects of a specific disease or condition. Rather than take the "disease of the month" approach, health promoters seek to improve health by improving the overall condition of the target population.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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