The 21st century poses vast challenges for public health, with environmental threats, cultural diversity and an ever aging population. The role of health promotion is as important as ever, within this assignment I will look at the issues we face and the techniques used to alter public perception and behaviour. One definition widely highlighted from the World Health Organisation states that health is ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social well being’ (WHO 1947). This definition encompasses the indicators of poor health but does seem to view health as something that is quite conventional and static. This can be contrasted to a definition from Parsons who defines health as ‘the state of optimum capacity for an individual for the effective performance of the roles and tasks for which they have been socialised’ (Parsons 1971). Here we are viewing health as something maintained to the standard needed for us to perform our lifestyles. Health promotion is of great apprehension not only for the NHS but also many other groups that are involved in health care such as social, environmental and welfare practices. At its core is the intention of empowering individuals and communities to allow greater control of their health by providing information, education and support. Varying methods and strategies are used to change people’s perceptions of health, with the aim of working toward the creation of stronger communities and improved future health for all. The health belief model emphasises the function of beliefs and perceptions in human decision making. Originally developed by Rosenstock in 1966 it looks to predict patterns in health behaviour, such as willingness to partake in vaccinations and act upon health advice. It suggests that the factors that govern an individual changing their behaviour are based around an assessment of how feasible change is and the benefits provided. It puts forward the idea that people need relevance or a trigger to initiate decision making (Naidoo, Wills 1994). This model incorporates Bandura’s concept of self-efficacy. This suggests that an individual must believe they have the capability and insight to see an intended behaviour change through (Bandura 1991). The empowerment model seeks to expand the individual's capability to control their own health. This model facilitates a move toward change by building an individual's sense of worth and identity, allowing them to indentify their own health concerns (Naidoo, Wills 1994). It aims to develop decision making and problem solving skills, giving the individual the tools needed to see changes through with independent thought and action. This model can be very effective for young people who sometimes struggle to make independent decisions and are susceptible to peer and environmental pressures. There is a strong relationship between employment and health. The main negative being occupational ill health, this can be an issue for many people working within manual job roles, as well as people working in stressful high pressure environments. It’s shown that having little or no control over work processes and being in lower positions can contribute to ill health (Marmot et al 2006). Unemployment is of a greater risk to ill health than employment, moving people into work can be seen as a health promotion in its own right. Employment brings higher living standards, more disposable income, improved confidence and wellbeing. Gender is still a large determinant, men generally work in more manual roles and take poorer care of their health overall. Loosing work can actually double the risk of a middle aged man dying within the following five years. Evidently there are strong links between employment and men’s wellbeing. Men over the age of 65 are also three and a half times more at risk of developing coronary heart disease than women (DH, 1998). Men’s life...
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