Health, according to the World Health Organization, is “an overall condition of total physical, mental and emotional well-being and not just the absence of sickness and disease.” Different definitions have been applied to health throughout time. In recent years, the term “wellness” has become more common, as it includes aspects of preventive health care, which include education on nutrition, exercise, and stress management. Health is a complex subject because it requires an individual and a family’s individual attitudes and choices for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
The key elements of a good health policy are population management, primary and secondary prevention, adequate resources, and community services. The challenge for public health and medical care agencies is to create programs that reduce the differences in health, while providing the same or better quality of care to all citizens. Some of the components of a population management plan include reducing health disparities by age, improving nutritional status and risk factors, promoting active participation and exchange of information, and monitoring and evaluating changes in practice.
Primary prevention is a strategy used to prevent diseases before they become serious enough to be major problems. The approach is coordinated with the goal of achieving healthy life course habits from childhood through old age. This is called the “Hazardous Age Related Death Control Project” or HDACP. A recent study comparing elderly health and community services was concluded that the best strategy for older adults was a combination of life-course interventions, targeted public health programs, and targeted community services.
Health education is a primary tool for disease management in older adults. It includes informing people about their current conditions and what can be done to prevent them from getting worse. It is also used to provide knowledge on the potential risks and benefits of maintaining good health. This may involve educating people on the potential hazards of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, blood pressure, and other diseases, and ways to manage these diseases. The goal is to promote healthy behaviors such as exercising, quitting smoking and drinking, and weight management.
Community-based programs are used to enhance the well-being of those living in the community. These programs focus on reducing the social determinants of poor health. Social determinants include income level, race, ethnicity, gender, education, place of residence, and many other factors. The goal of public health is to reduce the differences between groups in health and bring all groups to an equal level of health. This is achieved by using a multi-stakeholder approach to implement social determinants of good health.
The future of public health and medical care looks bright with new research being done on genetic engineering, stem cell transplants, gene therapy, diet, exercise, and other technologies. These will enable us to treat and cure some diseases at a basic level and help us become a healthier population. There is no doubt that we will move forward in the future and I think we can all agree that the medical advancement is moving in the right direction.