The Importance of Good Health Promotion
Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is a condition whereby “a state of full physical, emotional and social well being and not just the absence of illness and infirmity.” Different definitions have been employed over the years for different purposes. In the United States, the definition of “health” typically involves a regimen of preventative measures and a commitment to healthy behaviors such as maintaining a diet free from allergens, maintaining a regular exercise program, and decreasing the intake of tobacco and alcohol. While the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) defines it as “the ability to achieve optimal health or the minimum standard of physical condition,” another popular definition is “being fit and healthy.” More specifically, health insurance considers health care as the ability to meet the requirements of the plan and preventative measures to maintain health.
For many people, one of the most important aspects of health is diet. A healthy diet helps individuals live longer and maintains a healthy body weight. Individuals with higher levels of stress are also more likely to develop diseases and disorders such as cancer and diabetes. Therefore, public health educators recommend a combination of a good diet, regular exercise, relaxation and a healthy mental outlook in order to promote good health.
In order to promote good health, humans must also have access to a clean, safe physical environment. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “a clean indoor environment that is free of dust and mold and containing a sufficient amount of sunlight and fresh air is essential for physical and mental health.” The EPA further stated that “physiologists agree that exposure to air pollution triggers asthma and irritants that can cause allergies, which can lead to a variety of illnesses ranging from colds and flu to serious conditions such as cancer and heart disease.” In order to improve indoor air quality, many public institutions such as schools, offices and homes install air purifiers to filter particles and chemicals in the air and thereby improving indoor air quality.
For those who do not have an individual health care plan through their employer, public health professionals often work in collaboration with community health care providers in order to provide comprehensive health care to populations. Public health professionals can work in the community as advocates for health in low-income and minority groups, educating them on the importance of healthy lifestyles and promoting healthy eating habits. They may also work with local and state government officials to establish long-term public health goals and strategies. They can also educate the public on the prevention and treatment of common diseases, as well as provide information on environmental health and advocating for healthy living through environmental improvement projects.
In defining health promotion, we should also remember that it is an individual human right to live in a comfortable and healthy environment. This right was recognized by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states, “the right to a healthy and balanced environment should be protected and maintained by all States in cooperation with each other.” Health is not only important for the body, but also includes the mind and spirit, which are necessary to maintain a productive and competitive society. Individuals who are healthy physically can contribute productively to society, while the mentally and emotionally healthy are more likely to contribute to family, friends, and work teams. Thus, public health professionals play a vital role in defining health promotion.
It is impossible to survive in today’s society without some form of physical activity. People should go about their lives feeling healthy and physically well, and they should not limit their physical activities to walking the dog, getting some exercise at the gym, or taking a morning walk. However, one should not push themselves too hard because even moderate levels of physical activity are beneficial. As Americans, we should always remember that physical activity is not the be-all end-all; it just helps maintain a healthy body. Some people forget this fact, but it is a sad reality. Thus, we all need to remember that a good health is not just a good health, but is the key to happiness and fulfillment in life.