Health Promotion Concepts and Factors

Health promotion is a complex process that involves different aspects of human life and relations with the environment. The healthcare model involves social, economic, and personal development issues important for every individual. Participation in healthcare promotion is intended not only to lead to a more efficient and effective delivery system but allows members of the local community to play some part in the provision of those services by mobilizing community resources of money, labor and resources (Naidoo and Wills 2002). The most important aspects of the healthcare model are lifestyle, environmental and social factors. By encouraging individuals to participate in the existing health care system in this way, it is argued that the limited national resources available for health care can be spread further because of the additional resources mobilized within the society. For example, adequately supervised people acting as personnel can provide acceptable and safe service and can refer patients to more qualified personnel in cases requiring greater medical expertise (Nutbeam & Harris, 2004).

Genetic and biological factors determine the predisposition to illness and disease, but lifestyle, environmental and social factors influence the attitude of a person to health and his/her ability to reduce negative genetic and biological factors. This interpretation would appear to reflect a humanistic philosophy that sees participation as an essential aspect of people’s self-development. Participation to allow individuals to take greater responsibility for their health development implies quite different approaches in the provision and planning of health care (Nutbeam & Harris 2004). The main problem in American today is that its healthcare system are overpriced, so low and middle social classes have been deprived of a chance to receive quality healthcare and be involved in healthcare promotion. This example shows that lifestyle, environmental and social factors are more important because they determine the overall conditions of health. For this approach, it is argued that improvements in healthcare should be more fully under the control of individuals themselves, rather than people being dependent on a professionalized medical care system (Edelman and Mandle, 2005).

Alcohol use, smoking and lack of physical activity can lead to such diseases as diabetes, cancer, arthritis, etc. This approach requires not only the active participation of people but also the improvement of health care promotions so that people can be involved in promotive, preventive, and curative health care activities in a manner most appropriate to their needs. Poor housing and poor diet can lead to asthma and other lung diseases. Even if a person has excellent health, poor environmental conditions can cause these problems. The rationale underlying this interpretation of social participation is, therefore, one of local-level control (i.e. by the individual, the family and the society) and self-reliance in relation to using the available health care infrastructure and technology. These interpretations allow saying that there is a lack of clarity at the conceptual/policy level about the aim of healthcare promotion itself and about the role of social participation within it (Naidoo and Wills, 2002).

In sum, healthcare promotions are a complex system based mainly on lifestyle, environmental and social factors. Low income and poor education are the main causes of poor living conditions and poor diet. Improving the efficiency of healthcare promotions is to be applauded, but if policy statements continue to abound with politically attractive references to “local self-reliance” and “community control” as being the main aim of social participation projects, then the confusion resulting from this is only to be expected.


  1. Edelman, C. L., Mandle, C. 2005, Health Promotion Throughout the Life Span. Elsevier/Mosby; 6 edition.
  2. Naidoo, Jennie & Jane Wills. 2002, Chapter 5 Models and approaches to health promotion (91-111) in: Naidoo & Wills: Public Health And Health Promotion Developing practice. 2nd Ed.
  3. Naidoo, Jennie & Jane Wills. 2002. Chapter 2. Influences on health, in: Naidoo & Wills: 2nd Ed. Public Health And Health Promotion Developing practice Second Edition, pp. 27-50.
  4. Nutbeam, Don & Elizabeth Harris 2004: Theory in a Nutshell (2nd ed.). A practical guide to health promotion theories, McGraw-Hill Australia.
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