Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is ‘a state of full mental and physical well-being.’ Different interpretations have been use for these terms over the years. There is debate, though, on whether healthy is merely a state of being clean and well, or if it includes traits like self-respect, trust, and even courage. This definition has become one of the most closely guarded secrets in the modern age.
The first definition, that of self-image, has the goal of enriching each person. It may take the form of an individual’s core values, or it could involve an attitude of social responsibility. Whatever the underlying motivation, people who support health equity try to shape themselves in accordance with what they learn and experience. These attitudes can take the form of values, beliefs, or practice. Developing a set of core values is essential for effective planning, as they provide the framework from which to formulate strategies and evaluate potential situations. People who value health equity are often progressive thinkers who see the need to ensure that all individuals have the opportunity to lead a fulfilling life.
On the other hand, those who do not support health promotion tend to focus on aspects of social determinants such as poverty, discrimination, and unhealthy environments. Those who believe in the principle of social determinants assume that market institutions, culture, and government policies are the chief forces that cause gaps in health. Because these people do not see health promotion as part of the solution to these problems, they do not find it necessary to develop alternative strategies.
In addition to shaping attitudes, strategies, and options, efforts to improve health and promote health care usually take different forms. Community groups can play a key role in improving the health of its local population. These groups can function as mediators between individuals and health care providers, working to ensure that quality care services are offered and that health promotion is practiced. In addition, local governments can implement community-based initiatives that involve family-friendly events, immunizations, cleanliness campaigns, and physical education. These programs give families a voice in improving their community’s health, affecting both their own health and the health of their community members.
Another arena where efforts to promote health are intertwined with community concerns is the realm of physical health. Efforts to reduce the prevalence of preventable and treatable diseases typically involve the community. Publicizing and implementing healthy behaviors such as regular exercise and the provision of good nutrition to children, teens, and adults also have an effect on the physical health of those within the community. Community-based efforts to implement a comprehensive public health program can address the many physical conditions that affect large numbers of its residents.
A good health regimen is a must for everyone. Healthy diets, regular exercise, exposure to a healthy social environment, and immunizations are ways to promote overall health. With these measures, we can hope to eradicate some of the diseases and disorders that affect millions of people worldwide.