Health Promotion Essay

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Health can mean different things to different people. The World Health Organisation (WHO.,1948) defined health as ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’. It can be viewed positively, as the ability to do something or a positive state of well-being, or negatively, focusing on the absence of illness or disease (Wills, J., 2007). The WHO definition takes into account the whole person and does not just focus on their physical health. It focuses on the person holistically and acknowledges that one can be healthy even with a disease or physical impairment and conversely, one is not healthy just because there is no diagnosable pathology (Wills, J., 2007). The definition of health as just an ‘absence of illness or disease’ (Blaxter., 1990), (Wills, J., 2007), (Naidoo, J., Wills, J., 2009), (DH., 2010) derives from the scientific, biomedical perspective on health. However, it is understood that positive health cannot just be established principally through treatment and drugs but by looking at health holistically, including involving patients in decision making and empowering them to take control and focusing on determinants of health, including behavioural, social, economical and environmental factors, that are often the root causes of ill health (Wills, J., 2007). Health promotion is ‘the process of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve, their health’ (WHO., 2012). The Ottawa Charter sets out the concept of health promotion (WHO., 1986), which makes the starting point for any discussion regarding health promotion. The charter is centrally concerned with the importance of empowerment and community participation, as well as building healthy public policy, therefore ensuring health is on the agenda of policy makers and that policies are introduced that benefit health and contribute

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