Health Promotion for Alcohol

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Young people and alcohol misuse: how can nurses use the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion?

Bernadette Ward RN, Midwife, Grad Cert Ed, MPHandTM, MHlth Sci Lecturer, Faculty of Health Sciences, La Trobe University, Bendigo, Australia. Glenda Verrinder RN, Midwife, Grad Cert Higher Ed, Grad Dip Pub and Com Health, MHlth Sci Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Health Sciences, La Trobe University, Bendigo, Australia.

Alcohol misuse in Australia society is a community issue that can be addressed successfully within a health promotion framework. It is important that strategiesarenotperceivedas‘quickfixes’butwork toward addressing some of the underlying structural factors that contribute to the problem.

Objective The objective of this article is to demonstrate how nurses can use the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion framework in addressing alcohol misuse among young people. Primary argument The Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion (1986) provides a useful framework from which to view the health of whole populations over their life course and in doing so work toward strengthening peoples’ health potential (World Health Organization 2005). The relevanceoftheCharterliesnotonlyintheinfluenceit has on establishing health promotion practice, but also theinfluenceithasonhealthpolicydevelopmentand health research (World Health Organization 2005). Conclusion Parents and community members have an important role to play in addressing alcohol misuse among adolescents but they need to be supported by nurses who can provide care within a health promotion framework.

alcohol, youth, Ottawa charter




The Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion (WHO 1986) has been ‘phenomenally influential in guiding the development of the concept of health promotion and shaping public health practice’ (Nutbeam 2005). The Charter is now more than 30 years old and, as a landmark document, outlines a clear statement of action that continues to have resonance for nurses around the world. The Charter was re‑endorsed in Bangkok at the 2005, 6th Global Conference on Health Promotion as it had been in Mexico‑City (2000), Jakarta (1997), Sundsvall (1991) and Adelaide (1988). The principles and action areas have stood the test of time in nursing, health policy development and health research. Itisnowknowntherearemanyfactorswhichinfluence health and illness. There is generally no single cause or single contributing factor which determines the likelihood of health or illness; rather there tends to be a variety of causes. Factors that determine physical and mental health status include income, employment, poverty, education, and access to community resources. These social factors generate people’s life experiences and opportunities which inturnmakeiteasierormoredifficultforpeopleto make positive decisions about their health. While there are many actions that a person can take to protect their own or their families’ health, very often the social context of their lives makes it impossible to take those actions (Talbot and Verrinder 2005). Health promotion and disease prevention strategies at the societal level are now part of the repertoire of nursing interventions. The Ottawa Charter highlights the importance of building healthy public policy, creating supportive environments, strengthening community action, developing personal skills and reorienting health services. Used collectively in any population setting, the action areas have a better chance of promoting health than when they are used in isolation. The Charter also highlights the potential role of organisations, systems and communities, as well as individual behaviours and capacities (Talbot and Verrinder 2005). AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF ADVANCED NURSING Volume 25 Number 4

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