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Health promotion is an increasing concern for nations given the increasing health issues and diseases. The purpose of health promotion by international agencies and governments is to influence and develop the health behavior of individuals and communities through knowledge, attitudes, skills and behavior. It aims to improve the health status of individuals, families, communities and nations, enhancing quality of life and reducing premature deaths. But despite the continuing efforts, there are still huge differences in health status in individuals. The project carried out herewith highlights the socio economic influences on health, models of health promotion, factors influencing health promotion and a detailed plan project for health promotion campaign. It will also explain barriers for accessing health care and ways to remove it.
The differences in the socio economic status of individuals that occurs across nations, communities and states have significant impact on health performance. The main reasons are explained as follows –
Long term unemployment – Income and social status are positively related with good health. An individual who is able to earn livelihood for self and family is able to afford better health as compared with an individual who is unemployed for longer time. It is because unemployment leads to a situation of no income which is directly linked with affording health care benefits for self and family (Gayle, 2014).
Education – The higher the education status, the higher will be employment and health status. Low education levels are linked with poor health and low confidence due to lack of employment opportunities. A single parent, who does not have any certification of secondary education and has left school in mid way, holds the responsibility of two children cannot be expected to afford good health.
Middle class segment – The increasing cost of health care and other necessities have forced parents to work for long hours to afford the benefits for their children. But at the same time, when parents are busy with their jobs, children have to maintain their food and entertainment needs. This lifestyle is often unhealthy and can cause long term health issues (Campbell, 2011).
Physical environment – The surrounding environment also has an important role in influencing health in reference. The air and water quality, healthy workplaces, roads, etc contribute to good health if maintained properly.
UK government has formed national and local agencies to survey and report of health status of people in the nation. The Health and lifestyle surveys (HALS) were carried out to inform health strategies of Primary Care Trusts. The survey is conducted through questionnaire method to random population. The surveys cover questions related to social economic factors and analyze the inequalities, deprivation in health and behavioral risk. It includes factors such as income, environment, housing, employment and social status. The Health survey for England (HSFE) is also health monitoring tool for the citizens carried out in order to plan health services and policy formation that improves the present conditions (Blakemore, 2000).
The above discussed monitoring tools used by local authorities to deliver better and informed health care services and improve quality of life of people. The relevancy of surveys can be assessed in the manner that it alerts general practitioners (GPs) with the fact that people of old age are unaware of their health issues and the need to start and early treatment. The surveys generate awareness among the professional and individuals and reduce the inequalities and promote quality of life. The surveys also promote health awareness campaigns that aims to support people live a healthy life, get informed about the eating habits and physical exercise benefits and change the lifestyle behavior. It provides information about the mental and physical health, social care and promotes wellbeing in the community (Chaudhry and et. al., 2006).
The survey results are used for research purpose of health agencies at local and national levels and determine policy formation to promote utmost care. The health care benefits in terms of facilities in specific localities and insurance coverage are based on findings that determine the needs.
The Acheson report “Independent inquiry into inequalities in health report published in 1998, with the inquiry headed by Donald Acheson report findings on health performance based on factors related to social economic characteristics.
Poverty – The report finds out that poor people are more addicted to smoking and drinking due to the low cost of tobacco and alcohol. The poor sections of society are not aware of health issues with tobacco and alcohol and that’ why use more. As per the report, in the year 1996, the smoking ratio between men and women was 29% and 28%. This is when divided among the professional and unskilled, it reveals shocking facts that only 2% and 11% of professional men and women smoked compared with unskilled men and women ratio of 41% and 36% (Curtis, 2012).
Income Inequality – The report states that children aged below two require more nutritional foods than older children and inequality in income is a major cause that restricts them to afford enough nutrition for their growth years.
Access and Information About Nutrition – The report surveys remote areas of the nation and mentioned in findings that lack of transport facilities are affecting the reach of people to education and necessary information about the nutrition requirements. This factor is again related with income and social status and affects the health of babies more than adults. The report states findings that babies in these regions are lighter in weight than babies in other parts of the nation (Gilson, 2003).
There are various control measures taken by UK government since 2000 to reduce the smoking status of nation. The health monitoring agencies also finds out that a major reason behind the increasing users are that physicians to provide counseling to patients who are in the early stages despite their willingness. The health monitoring agencies and experts find out that smoking cessation treatments must be provided through the behavioral aspects to generate better outcome. It was then realized that smokers can be altered through behavioral change through counseling and support efforts. The approach resulted into dramatic decline in smokers since 2000 proving its effectiveness (Gomm, Needham and Bullman, 2000).
The behavioral counseling is based on transtheoretical model of change that aims to provide a practical and effective approach to promote positive health behaviors and quit smoking. As per the approach, there are five stage of change- precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and maintenance. The stages represent the individual’s present state of mind towards smoking. As the individual moves through different stages, he/she experiences change in mood and attitude and develop confidence to quit. The approach is the most effective as it does not assume that all patients are ready to quit.
The approach is used in a way that it first recognizes the smoking status for present and former smokers, so that treatment should be according to it.
Precontemplation Stage – At this stage, smokers are unaware of the health issues related to smoking and are unwilling to quit it (KLEIN, 2010).
Contemplation Stage – Individual at this level is aware of the health affects of smoking and so is serious to quit smoking.
Preparation Stage – At this stage, individuals are deriving ways to quit smoking setting up targets.
Action Stage – This stage include the six month time duration since smoking cessation and they are trying to prevent relapse
Maintenance Stage – At this stage, individuals have developed the ability to maintain confidence and resist relapse.
The success of transtheoretical model is now also used for other diseases like chronic kidney disease (CKD) which is referred to as loss of kidney function over time. When applied this theory, it was found out that majority of patients belong to precontemplation or contemplation stages (Lloyd, 2000).
The health promotion aspects are promoted by professionals who belong to education, care homes and community development centers. These professionals are considered valuable part of the society as they support and guide members of public in general to live a healthy and quality life.
An important thing notified in survey is that majority of health issues are related to unbalanced and unhealthy routine. People as members of society are unaware with the fact that health measures in routine life can prevent the occurrence of many diseases. Teachers and school nurses promote benefits of exercise and nutrition intake in daily routine to prevent major health issues. The professional aims to promote healthy lifestyle through training and practice. It is here important to understand that routines help develop sense of stability and order. It is not only related to healthy eating, but extends its coverage to each activity performed by individuals from start of the day to end. It is the daily routine maintenance that organizes all the activities and ensures discipline. The healthy routine promotes feeling of safety in stressful situations because of the changes at physical and mental level in each age group. It is through the healthy living that individuals learn time management skills and bale to perform multiple things at one time. Routines also free individuals from indulging into disputes and help them make informed decisions (Peck, Towell and Gulliver, 2001). It is because when per day routine has been set up, there exist no need to brainstorm and waste time and energy to decide on everything. A healthy lifestyle also includes spending time with family and friends so that individuals develop interpersonal skills with the society and community. Is has been found that individuals who are not social and remain aloof develop mental problems.
Health Belief Model – The health belief model developed in 1950 by social psychologists aims to explain and predict health related behaviors for the promotion of health services. The model suggests that the beliefs of individuals in relation with health problems, perceived benefits of action, self efficacy and barriers to action are linked in promoting health behavior. It aims to explain the reason of acceptance or rejection of health benefits by patients. It thus proposes that individuals respond positively to health promotion provided the below conditions for change –
Theory of Reasoned Action – It is based on the behavioral aspects that can be controlled. It explains that behavior intention can be predict with actual behavior. The intentions are divided into two factors – attitude towards behavior and individual’s belief in relation with support of other people.
Ecological Approaches – It explain that effective interventions influence multiple level as health is shaped by the external factors in the environment such as family, community, workplace, religious beliefs. For example, people in many parts still relate health issues as curse of some evil. It is there religious belief that people observe health issues as a curse and does not undergo treatments (Richards and Coast, 2003).
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There are equal numbers of people in society who are taking initiatives to promote health benefits and then there are others who do not care about and are the verge of indulging into unhealthy living. There health care professional, social workers who are aware of the ill effects of unhealthy living are helping and support people to understand and promote healthy living. Then there is another group who might know or is unaware of healthy living, but are still engaged in activities that could result into health issue sin future time. This concept can be understood as the industries and organizations engaged into production of alcohol and cigarette and or people engaged into illegal activities of drugs do not care about the ill effects of their actions. People have developed a perception that intake of alcohol or drugs relive them and are using it like anything (ROFFEY and PARRY, 2013).
As there are more initiative taken at local and national level in the form of anti smoking campaigns and counseling, there are increasing marketing and promotion of alcohol and cigarette endorse by the celebrities.
Many earlier studies have revealed that public at general lacks the necessary information in relation with the health. The policies and facilities designed at the national and local level is beyond the reach of remote areas and thereby they used to associate every health issue with some evil effects or do not take it seriously to find cure. It is thus important for people in every locality to get informed with the health related information and take treatments where required. The significance of health information is as follows –
Health information exchange provides quality of care and result into better outcomes by reducing medications. When people are duly aware about the health benefits and follow in their routine, they will improve their health and reduce the need for any unnecessary medication.
It is thus the duty of healthcare professionals to find ways to communication and provide information to the public (Weiner, Hughes and Pedersen, 2003). There are many ways to help propel understood how small changes in routine life can enhance the quality of life and prevent any cost to treatment. The communication methods can be in the form of online, TV and print media to reach the mass public. The professional can also help them understand through live examples with campaigns and activities.
In survey of health monitoring agencies it has been found out that people does not choose to walk even for short journeys. They prefer to car or public transport system to cover 2 mile distance. It was also find out that majority of the group belongs to age after 50 years. This means that young age understand the benefits of walking and thus choose to walk for short distance.
Taking this account a health promotion campaign is organized by local authorities to promote benefits of short walking for the age group 50 to 60 years (Lloyd, 2000). The objective of the campaign is to explain the benefits of short distance journey of health. The campaign is promoted through TV commercial and radio messages that motivates people to take short distances. The TV is promoted by outdoor advertising, digital and field activity. The field activity is organized in the local community centers that invite people of specific age group. General practitioners, social workers, trainers are invited to express they views in context with the topic.
The health promotion campaign outlined above is in accordance with the national plan for reducing the heath diseases among a particular age group. As there are increasing cases of health disease in the last ten years. the causes can be many such as unhealthy lifestyle, junk food, etc. there are increasing cases of heart stroke and attacks are recorded in people belonging to age group of 50 -60. The campaign is aimed to help people understand that a short distance walk can enhance their quality of life and avoid any treatment required to reduce the risk. The disease has also become a major cause of disability and premature deaths. The earlier study results suggest that short distance walking per day will reduce the risk of heath disease. The risk of heart can also give rise to many other health issues (McGlynn, and et. al., 2003).
Therefore, the above campaign is organized in relation with national plan of government to reduce the deaths with heart disease and promote healthy living. The short distance walks not only prevent heart disease but also control overweight, diabetes, and blood pressure levels. General practitioners also suggests that if an individual do not get a chance to walk for short distances, he/she can walk in their homes daily for about 45 minutes or take stairs and avoid going everytime with the lift. A short distance walk or walking for few minutes in homes improve physical ability of individual and keeps them active all day around. Thus a single campaign in with this objective will have significant health benefits (Moullin and et. al., 2011).
The above report helps to understand the influences of socio economic factors on health. It explains the differences of income and education inequalities are what preventing proper to access the health care requirements. The national and local government works in effective collaboration with each other to identify the major health issues in specific localities and develop plan and policies accordingly. The report also explains theories of health behavior which can be efficiently utilized to cure major disease such as chronic kidney disease. It thus aims to explain that all diseases and patients cannot be cured with a singly method or treatment. It thus required understanding of patient psychology to identify the cause of disease and provide treatment that result into successful cure.
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