Promoting Good Health
Health & Social Care AS
A01 – Pages 3 - 13
Promoting good health
This unit explores what is good health, the models, the range of lifestyle choices and societal factors which influence health and well-being. Health and well-being are not only affected by an individual’s lifestyle choices (e.g. smoking, eating unhealthy ‘fatty food), but also by societal and environmental issues (e.g. living near a motorway – high pollution levels)
Government policies and legislation have an imperative part to play in the promotion of good health, as the introduction on screening programmes (e.g. cervical smear ...view middle of the document...
Thus, meaning that a person can be considered ‘healthy’ when they are not ‘ill’. This is a negative concept of health, both because it has a limited definition, as it focuses on the physical health status, and pays little attention to behavioral health and ignores social health all together. More importantly, this concept of health is limited, as it doesn’t identify what health actually is.
The Biomedical approach
One mutual way of defining health is the ‘negative’ approach, as ‘health’ is defined in the absence of illness. This approach suggests that an individual can be considered ‘healthy’ when they aren’t ‘ill’ or have any symptoms signifying they have a disease.
Members of the medical profession tend to work on the basis that health constitutes the freedom from disease, pain, or defect, thus making the normal human condition "healthy". Hence, when a patient tells a biomedical practitioner (doctor) that they feel ‘unwell’, the doctor will carry out observations, examinations and tests to attempt to identify a biomedical abnormality that may be the cause of the patient’s ill health. A biomedical consultant who can’t identify any irregularities, are to believe that the individual being examined is ‘healthy’ as there are no physical signs of illness.
Key features of the biomedical model of health are:
* Disease is caused by bacteria, virus or genetic factor. Looks for biological process rather than social or emotional process
* Person is a type of machine. Other aspects of live doesn’t count e.g. living under strain of unemployment wouldn’t be a contributory factor to ill health under this model
* Deals with illness and ill health instead of promoting good health
The ‘Positive’ definition of health
Health-promotion activity aims to promote health improvement by changing behaviour, whereby, health promotions generally adopt a positive approach to ‘health’. Campaigns that encourage people to stop smoking, eat fewer fatty foods and do more exercise are all part of the health improvement approach. These examples are based on the belief that ‘health’ is a positive state that can be acquired through individuals changing their behaviour and living in a ‘healthy’ way. Whereby all the individuals needs and health’s are taken into consideration.
The ‘positive’ approach is in stark contrast to that of the biomedical approach, as it focuses on the presence of specific qualities or capabilities, such as:
* Being physically fit
* Feeling happy and optimistic about life (mental stability))
* Pulse rate and blood pressure in the ‘average’ range
All these qualities incline to associate having ‘positive’ health. This approach clearly defines that being ‘healthy’ evidently involves more than just not being unwell, as it contains certain expectations, such as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) that is ‘healthy.’ A health specialist who uses this approach, may carry out procedures such as:
* Physical fitness tests