Health promotion and disease prevention are processes that enable individuals to improve their health. Health promotion seeks to increase an individual’s control over their health by addressing behavior under the control of the individual. Disease prevention is associated with medical and public health activities to prevent diseases. Health promotion and disease prevention have been utilized in the U.S. health care system for many of years and extensive research has been done on which preventive measures are most likely to protect individual health. Studies have also been done on what degree can preventions contribute to controlling costs of health care. Research supports the effectiveness of the preventative measures such as immunization, some forms of screening, avoidance of a high-fat diet, regular moderate exercise, as well the avoidance or cessation of exposure to tobacco. But research has also shown that preventative measures increase, rather than reduce, health care costs.
Research has shown that preventative interventions preserve function and extend lives. Studies have shown immunization to be a good example of a prevention that promotes individual health and longevity. The benefits of immunization can been seen in young people and in the elderly. For decades the elderly have been receiving vaccination against influenza and it is also commonplace for young children to receive inoculations for diptheria, tentanus, pertussis, polio, meningitis-causing Haemophilus influenzae, measles, mups, rubells, and hepatitis B.1 A study from the Netherlands demonstrates the health benefits of the elderly receiving annual influenza vaccination. The findings from the study were that the those who received annual vaccination experienced a reduced mortality risk of 24 percent and it was estimated that the vaccination prevented one death for every 302 people vaccinated. 1
Immunization has also eradicated diseases that once threaten the lives of children in the