Defining Health Education
Health education refers to teaching or informing individuals and communities about their health and what they can do to improve their health and wellbeing through their lifestyle. It also involves motivating individuals towards behavioral change that ultimately impacts their health. The concept of health education and the profession has evolved and changed year after year. In the past, health education referred to health promotion, which is a broader term that involves focusing on the multiple determinants of health including educational, cultural, environmental and socioeconomic.
The profession has also changed from the cognitive model of just presenting facts to the audience, to an affective model that involves changing attitudes and beliefs of multitudes. Today, those in the health education profession are more into institutionalizing health education, leadership, health promotion and wellness programming.
One health issue that I would wish to work on is advocating for healthy eating and physical exercise to minimize cases of obesity and overweight among children and young people. While designing a health prevention program for this population, I would consider the features of the target population, their lifestyles, beliefs, values and attitudes towards health and wellness. The health prevention program would also involve the following levels of prevention:
- Primary prevention – This involves protection from the risk factors that cause health problems. For the obesity prevention program, primary prevention activities will involve education on proper nutrition as well as physical exercise.
- Secondary prevention – This involves activities meant to stop disease progression. For the obesity program, secondary prevention will include screening and diagnosis of obesity and implementing nutrition and physical exercise routines for those who are overweight.
- Tertiary prevention – This involves managing those already with the disease. Tertiary prevention for the obesity prevention program will involve feeding and physical activity clinics and follow ups.