Saturday, January 18, 2014

What Does Health Promotion Mean?

Health promotion is a slightly stuffy term in one sense in that it is normally used by official bodies, governments and academic experts to talk about a wide range of social activities and behaviours that collectively have a big impact on an individual's health and sense of well-being.

The most common and obvious examples relate to issues such as smoking, drinking, gambling and diet, as well as a range of social conditions such as housing, poverty and unemployment, all of which have an impact on determining levels of health.Whilst these areas of health promotion are important and valid, they tend to be areas that have a huge amount of research done into the in order to produce evidenced-based processes of solutions to public health issues.

Whilst this is an important area for many people, there is another aspect to health promotion which actually has much more of an impact in some ways, which is the way an individual promotes their own health and well-being on a daily basis.This invariably raises the question of what is health and what is not health and what is health promotion and what is not health promotion.

The notion of health has a number of standard academic definitions, the majority of which are fairly meaningless in that they are so broad and generalised that they can mean pretty much what anyone wants them to mean. The nature of health to an individual tends to be something that they take for granted until in some way they are alerted that they could have a problem.

Such a problem could well be of a physical or emotional nature or could relate to a close family member or friend or could relate to a change in circumstances such as bereavement, moving home or losing a job. All these areas have an impact on the nature of health in terms of physical symptoms, emotional stability and a general sense of well-being.

The circumstances of life tend to challenge and question a person's core sense of self, how much of a belief they have themselves and capability of running their own life, and their ability to deal with the challenges that invariably arise from these areas. An individual's sense of health promotion may not be a conscious process, but can be enhanced considerably by healthy levels of emotional and social support in terms of family and environment.

The healthiest form of promotion in terms of an individual's health care relates to their own internal locus of control in many ways. Other health prevention areas such as diet/exercise which are well known, will to a large extent depend on how much an individual values their own well-being and is willing to undertake these other areas as a result. Having knowledge of one's own health is important, but more important is the level of motivation behind it.

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