Conceptualizing the Concept of Health Promotion
Health is a condition of emotional, physical and mental well-being where infirmity and disease are absent. Some of the definitions have even been applied for other purposes, such as when someone says, “I feel good”, “I am energetic” or “my spirit is high”. There are many definitions for health, but what exactly it means to each individual may vary. For some people it is having the ability to love unconditionally. For others, it is having the strength to fight against disease. It can also mean being happy and content just where one is.
A healthy definition of health would be having everything that the body needs in order to function normally. Mental and physical wellness include aspects of the self, such as a person’s ability to think properly, to learn new things, to interact properly with others and to care about themselves. Having a healthy self-image is essential, since it influences other areas of life such as career and relationships. The other elements of a healthy self-image are: having a sense of worth and having a desire for change.
Having health equity involves examining the way people from different backgrounds deal with health. It is influenced by social determinants, such as race, gender, ethnicity, social class, sexual orientation, age, place of residence, and education. These determinants affect health differently and are related to health equity. One example of social determinant is location, as poor health often presents itself in a geographical context. The concept of health equity was introduced to address health differences by adding the concept of wellness.
The third definition relates to the quality of medical care. It also involves the social determinants of health. As, well as age, family history of illnesses, physical disability, gender, socioeconomic status, and medical history, there are other factors that influence a person’s well-being. One example is the financial security of an individual. The quality of healthcare service provided and the use of medical services in urban and rural communities are two important determinants of well-being. Thus, policies designed to promote health promotion and quality of health would likely differ, even if they would have the same goal – improving the quality of life.
Policy makers and practitioners need to take note of the fact that health promotion and quality of health service provision are not the same things. They should rather be considered as separate issues. This understanding would facilitate policy development. The following may be considered as examples of interventions aimed at addressing health promotion and the problems of health equity in communities:
What Does the Word Health Mean? The dictionary definition of health is the ability to live comfortably, without pain or suffering. The Institute of Medicine defines health as having a capacity to achieve and maintain a healthy and optimal balance through eating, living, and working. In essence, health promotion refers to educational, societal, and behavioral strategies that improve health, while understanding the consequences of poor health on persons’ quality of life. This article briefly explains what each of these concepts means to different people, and how they can be applied in the practice of public health promotion.