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Introduction

Health is defined as a state of absence of mental distress, physical illness or diseases in the body. Maintenance of body fitness and stability of the brain is essential in maintaining good health status. Health is as a result of the combination of social, emotional, intellectual and physical factors. An individual’s health changes over a period of time. Health varies across different stages of life and culture. People in old age face deteriorating health conditions .Young and energetic, people have good health status. The quality of life that an individual undertakes determines the quality of health in their body.

Health

Health is the stage of function of metabolic effectiveness of living things. In human beings, it means free from pain, injury and disease. On a broader perspective the world health organization dictates that health is an inclusive state of metal and physical being and not lack of diseases in the body. Methodical ways to prevent or cure health tribulations promote perfect health. They are undertaken by health providers. Health determinants are the background of a person, economic and social conditions and lifestyle. These determine health status. Maintenance and improvement of health is done through the application of human science and intelligent choice of lifestyle in the communities.

World health organization interprets health as the degree to which a person is able to satisfy needs and realize their aspirations (Lundy and Janes, 2009). The individual is also able to deal with changes in the environment. Health is a resource to live on a daily basis and not a purpose of living. It is a positive health emphasizes on the utilization of personal resources. One definition of health is limited by the many social conditions surrounding the concept. The society and culture in which people live define the concept of health. This means that health is determined by where we live. Responsible living, for instance avoiding smoking will reduce exposure to health risks.

Health Theories

The health belief model is one of the initial health theories to be developed. The theory is founded on health behavior. It was formulated by a group of public health psychologists in the 1950s. The group worked in the public sector. They wanted to find an explanation as to why people were involved in the avoidance and uncovering of diseases. The model is efficient in addressing negative behaviors that contribute to health concerns, for instance, irresponsible sexual behavior and the probability of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. The theory stipulates that an individual’s health behavior is dependent on their perception of four critical areas; the severity of a potential disease, susceptibility to that disease, outcome of the preventive measures and barriers to act (Sharma and Romas, 2012).

The Health Belief Theory is used in nursing, particularly in issues geared towards prevention and compliance with health practices on a patient. The model purports the health seeking behavior is influenced by threat posed by the disease and the value that comes with action to reduce the threat. Health Belief Model explains the relationship between an individual’s behavior and beliefs. The theory is helpful to medical practitioners to determine the behavior of patients concerning their health and how they comply with therapy. Criticism to the theory is that it ignores emotional factors such as fear, it overlooks economic and social factors and it ignores that therapy outcomes predict health behavior. It also assumes that health behavior is rational.

Health Promotion

On a broader perspective health promotion involves activities that promote health. Health promotion is the activity of enabling people to exercise control of health determinants (Sharma, and Romas, 2012). The process is set to improve their health status. The concept is an important channel to address critical health challenges encountered by nations, including issues relating to health and human development. Health promotion aims at reducing health care expenses.  Health promotion is geared towards sparking people into taking action. The aim of health promotion activity is to reinforce the capabilities and skills of persons to take action. To achieve positive change in health, communities need to collectively take control of their health determinants.

Ottawa charter strategies of tackling health determinants include; personal skills development, provision of supportive conditions for health, reinforcing community action and legislation on public policy.

There is a growing need to reorient services in the health sector to be focused towards health promotion. Health promotion action geared towards the control of health determinants, are determined by factors both within and outside an individual’s outreach.  Economic, social and environmental factors are exterior factors affecting health determinants. Individuals’ health behaviors are interior factors within their control.

 Health promotion is a fundamental strategy in social development to address the inequalities that are encountered in health. Health promotion involves a combination of strategies to foster people in making informed healthy choices. The strategies are drawn from psychology, anthropology, sociology, epidemiology, behavioral science, education, political science, public health and other fields.

Health is vital in enabling an individual to lead a socially and economically productive life. Peace, basic necessities, economic resources, secure ecosystem, and sustainable resources are prerequisites for health. These fundamental needs are hard to meet and the goal of health promotion is to attain them. Perfect health is a dynamic balance of social, emotional, and intellectual health. Change in lifestyle can be achieved through learning activities to enhance awareness, building skills, growing motivation and opening up avenues that make positive health contributions the easiest way to make informed choices.

Health Promotion Theories

Theories have been formulated to improve quality and reduce the cost of health care interventions.  The stages of change model focuses on the readiness of an individual towards healthy behaviors. The theory recognizes that there are steps that a victim must undergo before changing behavior. For instance, a smoker cannot change his habits unless through a process. Individuals who believe that they can promote their health through changing their behavior are encouraged by the theory. Nurses play an important role in changing the behavior of patients towards healthy living activities. Counseling and positive activities like exercise play a fundamental role in changing behavior.

The social learning model explains behavior through three dynamic ways. The interaction between personal and environmental factors plays an important role in explaining the behavior of an individual. Nurses use the model to provide the best therapy to health problems.

Community organization theory lays emphasis on the active participation and development of the communities that can evaluate and solve health problem issues.

Organization change theories emphasize on how new policies and programs can be formulated to create an enabling environment for medical practitioners to promote health (Tulchinsky and Varavikova, 2009). The policies also need to be adopted by institutions for a positive outcome in health to be realized. Diffusion innovation theories stipulate how new products, social practices and ideas spread from one society to another.

Barriers to Health Promotion

Health promotion is faced by a number of impediments. They prevent both individuals and practitioners from achieving their goal of improved health conditions. Social deprivation is a key barrier to the promotion of health activities. The major target of many governments is to address the problem of inequalities attached to health promotion. Patients from poorer social groups are faced with the problem of poor health. This makes it difficult for them to adopt and implement health promoting activities. To increase health promotion activities among these groups the government needs to address the issues of the deprived communities. The use of inappropriate intervention for the socially deprived groups is another barrier to health promotion.

Ignorance of risk associated with health problems is a barrier to health promotion. An individual lacks the knowledge of the risks that are associated with unhealthy behavior. Lack of choice between two options is a barrier to health promotion. If there is a choice between the shortage of waters and drinking contaminated waters, an individual may have no option but to drink the dirty water which poses a health risk.

Cultural pressures may encourage risky behaviors that put barriers to health promotion. Another barrier to health promotion is patients with diseases that are health related. This gives an impediment to health promotion because it renders the objective of health promotion to combat the spread of diseases. Social environment that promotes prostitution will lead to a fast spread of diseases that are sexually transmitted. The lack of resource for instance funds to drive the promotion of health activities pose a barrier. This gives hitches to the formulated programs.

Effectiveness of Health Promotion Programs

Behavior related diseases are indicators of the effectiveness of health promotion activities. A reduction in the number of behavior related diseases is a major indicator of the effectiveness of health promotion programs (Tones and Tilford, 2001). A precaution adoption theory that is assimilated in rehabilitation programs reduce the number of sexual workers

Conclusion

In a recap, health is an important component in any economy. For the economy to grow all stakeholders in the health sector need to invest heavily in resources and time to ensure that there is a healthy community.

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