Prevention and Policy Development for Better Health Equity

We all care about health is important. The basics of health are healthy food, a balanced diet, regular exercise and good hygiene. When it comes to your body, you want to be sure to keep it safe and keep it healthy. There is a wide variety of health concerns and diseases out there today and a lot of them are preventable. It’s up to us to protect our bodies and our health and find ways to do that.

According to the World Health Organization, “Health, as a state of full physical, mental and social well being and not simply the absence of sickness and disease, is achieved through a combination of prevention, diagnosis and treatment.” Various definitions have been employed over time for distinct purposes. But these general ideas are helpful in putting a name on some of the most common health issues we face every day. To better focus on these challenges, it’s important to define and think about how a healthy lifestyle differs from a unhealthy one, as well as find new ways to keep it that way.

A clear example of the first is obesity. Obesity is a growing concern in our communities today because of the differences in economic status and culture. Children grow up with little exposure to physical exercise and when they do, the messages are often distorted and they develop unhealthy eating habits. This affects their physical health and they struggle with weight later on in life. Public education campaigns can be an effective way to reduce obesity among our children. Certain organizations, like the American Heart Association, have developed campaigns and community activities to address this issue in both adults and children.

Another way to increase health risks is to adopt poor health behaviors. One common social determinant of good health is a low self-esteem. Other examples include smoking and alcohol consumption. In a community where there is a wealth of opportunities to pursue good health care, people who do not use them are at risk of developing poor health behaviors, such as smoking or exercising less, which are known to contribute to poor health and can worsen the effects of any illness.

Social distress can also cause a lot of health inequities. For instance, people living in poverty are more likely to develop diseases associated with poverty, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Similarly, people living in physical health disadvantage are more likely to develop conditions like obesity or osteoporosis. In addition, health disparity can be caused by different types of diseases. For instance, people who live in a rural setting are more likely to develop heart disease than those who live in a city.

Community-based interventions can help address health education and promotion, as well as addressing health equity. These campaigns involve activities such as mass mailing of brochures and free information, direct contact with family and friends to disseminate preventive and curative information, as well as community organizing to build capacity in the community to provide resources for disease control. Since the early stages of cardiovascular disease are often associated with mental health issues, a campaign to build capacity on community mental health teams might alleviate the burden on family and friends. Health promotion and health education initiatives can further promote social justice by changing cultural norms and expectations about physical health, mental health, and emotional health, and promoting self-care among patients with chronic conditions.