Public Health Promotion and Its Importance to Age-related Health Equity
Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is a state of full physical, mental and social wellness and not just the absence of sickness and disease. Various definitions have been used over the years. For most people today, health means being able to withstand pain, being able to live life to its fullest, and having an overall good health. In order to achieve a state of health, a person must follow certain guidelines. These guidelines can also be considered a definition of health. For the sake of discussion, the following are some general ideas of what health means to a person.
One definition of health that is frequently used is defined by American Heritage Dictionary as the following: the quality of being able to live comfortably, properly, productively, safely and positively. This definition is not very clear. According to health education, health behaviors or conditions that are important for one to lead a happy and productive life are included in health promotion. Healthy behaviors or conditions include but are not limited to: the ability to make wise health decisions, the ability to recognize and respond to cues of illness, and the ability to provide for one’s own health and the needs of family and friends. Health education also includes instruction in healthy behaviors, such as the necessity to reduce weight, seek routine medical care and eat a well balanced diet.
Another common notion that is related to health is the idea that it relates to the physical aspect. For example, when someone is told to watch their weight, they are told to do so because of the potential health effects. People who smoke cigarettes are told to stop because of the potential health risks related to smoking. One can also define health as the proper functioning of the organs, the nervous system, the digestive system, the breathing system, the skin, the body’s temperature, and the capacity to hear, speak, and understand speech. Mental health, on the other hand, often is the result of a persons’ mental health.
When it comes to what defines health, there are five dimensions of health that most people believe are critical. They are age, social status, the health history of the person, lifestyle, and the environment. The five dimensions of health that most people associate with are physical, psychological, institutional, environmental, and life course. Each of these dimensions is important to managing the disease, improving quality of life, and maintaining longevity.
In order to understand what each of these components is and how they interact, one must first understand what health behaviors or conditions are associated with health. A person who smokes cigarettes, for example, is more likely to have health problems than a person who never smoked cigarettes. However, the causes of health problems are not solely related to tobacco use, and genetics cannot completely explain some health differences. The five social determinants of health are related to health in ways that are important for both aged individuals and younger ones.
The challenge is to find public health promotion strategies that target health inequities without causing greater social distress. Programs that promote healthy behaviors and discourage unhealthy ones will be much better received by people who need the services, but may not be willing to take them. Better education and prevention efforts must also be made in order to reduce health disparities. The goal is to find a balance between public health initiatives that create health equity and those that create health disparities.