Health Promotion Essay

This essay has a total of 2780 words and 13 pages.


Health Promotion





Health by definition is the complete physical, mental and social well-being (Burch, 2001).
In the past health has been defined as the absence of disease. Health promotion enables
people the ability and resources to improve and control their overall health. Being able
to adjust and adapt to various social and physical environments in day-to-day activities
is a trait of a healthy individual. Health promotion is not just the responsibility of
those individuals in the health field. An individual’s well-being reflects whether
or not that person has a healthy lifestyle. Therefore health promotion becomes an issue
for employers, retailers, sports and policy makers among others because issues such as
safety and environmental factors will have an influence on the well-being of an individual
(Ottawa Charter, 1986). Collaborative and coordinated efforts to provide safer goods and
services, and a cleaner, more enjoyable environment should be the goal for all. The goal
of all involved should be to provide a healthier environment that will provide a better
well-being for the population. Promoting health requires the detection of any barriers
that would hinder the health promotion process and removal of them. Promoting health
is, also, educating the public to current health issues.

There are various aspects of health promotion. Health promotion can be applied to any
group or environment. A few of the more popular places and populations we see health
promotion being addressed more often are the workplace, community, among adolescent, and
the elderly. However, I believe the most effective and important place to begin health
promotion is within our school systems. Promoting a healthy lifestyle, bettering quality
of life, and preventing disease and illness of the future are three of the main goals for
health promoters (CDC1, 2001). Educating our youth is what I feel is the most effective
way to accomplish this. Neglecting our older population for the younger population is not
what is being implied. The “baby boomers” are now becoming the elderly
population and need to be addressed. Addressing the younger generation now will hopefully
lessen the pressures as they become older.

The United States population has tripled since the 1900’s. Adults ages 65 years and
older have increased from 3.1 million in 1900 to 33.9 million currently. At this rate by
2030 the number of older Americans will be more than 70 million (CDC1, 2001). One in
every 5 Americans will be a senior citizen. This increase in the elderly population will
affect health care cost and health promoting techniques. As more of the American
population gets older, it becomes necessary to educate them and provide them with
resources now. Americans need to know where they can go to get the proper treatment.
They should be aware of what resources are available outside of a doctor’s office
and hospital.

Chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and arthritis, will be the most
problematic among older Americans. There is an Arthritis Self Help Course available that
educates the public on arthritis and the management of pain and minimization of symptoms.
Adults are taught how early diagnosis and appropriate treatments are important in the
management of arthritis. The Arthritis Self Help Course is proven to help adults reduce
arthritis pain by as much as 20%. Those adults who enrolled in the self help course were
better able to understand arthritis and physicians visits declined by 40%. However this
wonderful program reaches less than 1% of the population despite its positive outcomes
(CDC1, 2001). Community education and outreach programs in most areas are nonexistent or
lack resources to educate the public on what is available to them. Those who are in
charge of these programs lack the training and expertise to find the resources for what is
available to their community. These same leaders are not fully aware of what the
community needs due to the lack of communication with the constituents.

Treating chronic diseases in the early stages can save lives and reduce health care costs.
Health care providers realize the importance in prevention. For example, Medicare will
cover screening for breast and colorectal cancers. However, 20% of women aged 65-69 have
not received a mammogram within the past two years. Only half of all Americans 65 and
older have received the recommended blood stool screening test for sigmoidoscopy or
colonoscopy (CDC1, 2001). Most Americans do not realize these screenings are needed. If
adults are aware that they should have the screening, most choose not to because of fear
of cost. Americans are unaware of what health procedures are covered and those that are
not. Health care even at its most basic is hard for the average person to understand. No
person is ever trained on his or her health care policy. Most people are given the manual
and documents that are supposed to explain the coverage and left to figure it out. This
is apart of health promotion that isn’t effective now but needs more work.

Letting this growing number of adults know what resources are available is important.
Most have passed the primary stage of prevention. Adults have crossed to secondary and
tertiary stages. Educating the public on what resources are available and how to go about
allocating those resources is important for the older age group. As for the next
generation, if we can educate them now maybe we can catch them before the secondary and
tertiary stages.

The current adult population grew along with the American industry. Technology, fast food
and unhealthy diets all come into being during the adult’s youth. The elderly
Americans did not have the education on the unhealthy effects foods can have on your body.
Research was not as predominant in the past as it is today. Technology has kept most of
the “baby boomers” from going outside and enjoying physical activity. Elderly
Americans didn’t have physical education to show the importance of physical activity
in everyday life. Physical activity is a treatment that two thirds of Americans can use
to treat physical or mental ailments and do not (CDC1, 2001). Physical activity is the
cure all. Yet it is the most neglected medicine that Americans use. Many people have the
misconception that if they are thin that there is not need for physical activity, this is
a very ignorant view. A healthy lifestyle is prudent to avoid the decline and
deterioration associated with aging. It has been proven that physical activity can aid in
the prevention of illness and disease. Some benefits of physical activity are shown
below.

Reduced risk of coronary heart disease. Reduced risk of colon cancer.
Reduced risk of diabetes. Reduced risk of high blood pressure.
Reduced risk of alls. Reduced risk of anxiety and depression.
Maintains a healthy body weight. Maintains joint strength and mobility.
Table 1.1 (CDC1, 2001)
After knowing these benefits there is no reason for not being physically active. One
would argue that smokers know the risk of smoking, yet 25% of Americans still smoke (CDC1,
2001). Adults do not fully understand the importance of physical activity, and the role
it plays in maintaining good health. This point is not stressed enough in school.
Physical activity is essential. Just as the body needs the correct vitamins and minerals
to be healthy, it needs the right amount of activity to function properly.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) can provide public health leadership and
coordination in establishing a national framework to promote health and an improved
quality of life (CDC2, 2001). The CDC wants to establish a foundation of prevention.
However, the CDC realizes that they need to build on what currently is in place and what
is known to work. Working collaboration with Administration on Aging, National Institute
on Aging, Health Care Financing Administration, AARP, National Council on Aging,
Erotological Society of America, American Society on Aging, and the Robert Wood Johnson
Foundation the CDC can join forces to promote health and well being among the aging
population (CDC1, 2001). Research is constantly being done. Factors such as race,
ethnicity and location are areas that need to be further researched concerning death,
disease and quality of life (Manson, 1997). The combination of various expertises is
essential to finding the solution to complex health issues. Networking among universities
allows for shared information on key research issues in the health field. Now that we have
an idea of what steps can and should be done for those in secondary and tertiary stages,
lets view how primary prevention can be better accomplished.

Preparing people for all phases of life is essential. This will enable them to cope with
chronic illnesses and injury enhancing their life skills. Educating adults provides a
certain personal and social development allowing for interpersonal growth. Education is
key in schools but must be facilitated at home, work and in the community as well.
Educational, professional, commercial, and voluntary bodies must take action to promote
well being among individuals.

“Schools could do more than perhaps any other single institution in society to help
young people, and the adults they will become, to live healthier longer, more satisfying,
and more productive lives.” The Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development made the
statement, this is how health promotion should work (CDC2, 2001). Fifty-three million
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