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Health Promotion Strategies

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"Health promotion is the process of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve, their health. It moves beyond a focus on individual behavior towards a wide range of social and environmental interventions"(WHO, 2012).

Health education is one of several strategies that are used in promoting health.

In order for an education intervention to be effective, it must be culturally and linguistically competent. It is increasingly clear that culture influences all aspects of human behavior including its role in defining illness, health, and wellness and in help-seeking and health maintenance behaviors. Of particular importance is the recognition that health beliefs and practices are passed on from generation to generation.

The health of Americans is often influenced by the neighborhood in which they live, the schools they attend, the availability of healthy foods, and the opportunities they have for employment, housing, and education. The National Prevention Strategy states that based upon cultural consideration several health promotion strategies can be implemented including:

* Healthy Physical, Social and Economic Environments: Create healthy physical, social and economic environments that encompass safe and healthy neighborhoods, worksites, schools, homes and public and green space.

* Reduce Alcohol and Drug Abuse: Implement policies, systems and environmental changes, in addition to targeted strategies, to reduce alcohol misuse and the use of illicit drugs and their consequences across the lifespan.

* Healthy Eating: Implement policies, systems and environmental changes, in addition to targeted strategies to improve healthy food and beverage choices across the lifespan.

* Active Living: Implement policies, systems and environmental changes, and targeted strategies to increase physical activity across the lifespan.

* Mental and Emotional Wellbeing: Implement policies, systems and environmental changes to enhance positive mental health and wellbeing that allows individuals to realize his or her full potential.

Hayes, 2009, p. 392). Cultural background tends to inform many people's understanding of illness. Thus cultural beliefs could influence a person's behavior following an illness. In Vietnamese culture, for example, it is disrespectful to ask a doctor a question (Shanahan & Bradshaw, 1995). Within that culture, it is also believed that individuals who do not complain of pain or discomfort are strong in character (Shanahan & Bradshaw, 1995; Wills & Wooton, 1999).

Culture can be defined broadly as a system of values, beliefs, and attitudes that are affected by other characteristics such race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation. The role of culture is critical in any approach to addressing health disparities. Several studies have found that culture can influence the health beliefs and practices of individuals, providers, and systems as they may conceptualize health, disease, and wellness differently. Culture also affects health-seeking attitudes and behaviors, as individuals may have a historical mistrust of health care and social service professionals or have experienced racism, discrimination, and bias in the past when trying to access health care. Cultural and linguistic barriers also play a critical role in an individual's ability to seek and access care.

Culture is the sum total of the way of living; including values, beliefs, aesthetic standards, linguistic expression, patterns of thinking, behavioral norms, and styles of communication which a group of people has developed to assure the survival in a particular physical and human environment. Many factors need to be taken into consideration when considering cultural influences in our understanding of health, wellness, and disease. Factors specific to different cultural groups include folk remedies, normative cultural values, patient beliefs and practices, and provider beliefs, values and practices. Often differences in cultural values create conflicts that can affect how services might be accessed or utilized. Cultural competence can serve as a tool in bridging these differences.

The virtual family named 'The Henry's' is an African American family residing in Michigan. The family is made up of a 55-year-old male named Chuck and his wife Tameka who is 56 years old. Chuck is recently laid off from job at auto plant just a year short of retirement and Tameka is currently on disability due to a back injury suffered on job 4 years ago.

Chuck denies any past medical history and only states he has allergies to "mold". Most recently Chuck was diagnosed with hypertension after coming into for an office visit complaining of headaches and insomnia. He was started on anti-hypertensive medication. Chuck has also discussed his concerns with financial difficulties due to his COBRA health insurance almost completed and the high cost of both his family medications. Educating Chuck about the importance of taking his anti-hypertensive medication is an extremely important to ensure his current and future health. "Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of deaths in African-Americans. In fact, coronary heart disease and stroke together account for then one third of all deaths in African-Americans"(Giger & Davidhizar, 2008, p. 214). Encouraging Chuck to maintain a healthy diet and participate in at least thirty minutes of exercise three times a week will help decrease these risk factors. Providing him with examples of a proper diet using foods he likes will help ensure that he make healthful meal choices. Mental health is extremely dependent of ones self worth encouraging Chuck to continue to look for employment and provide him with any information on employment location programs in the surrounding area. "Family is the basic unit of society" (Blais & Hayes, 2009, p. 392).

Tameka only medical complaint



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