People are always concerned about their health. Whether it’s because they’re too busy to get up and move around, or because they don’t want to smell like a dog (it happens!) everyone wants to lead a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, being healthy is a lot more difficult than one might think. It takes discipline and commitment to be able to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but in the end it will bring greater rewards both physically and emotionally.
Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is a state of full physical, mental and emotional well-being and not just the absence of illness and infirmity. A variety of other definitions have also been used over the years for different purposes. In the third definition, “health” is used to refer to an individual’s ability to live well. Disease refers to a condition that interferes with health. The absence of disease is obviously better than the presence of disease, but sometimes the absence of a particular disease may indicate that a person is unhealthy.
There are many sociological determinants of good health. A few that come to mind include social norms, the influence of family and friends, as well as environmental factors such as clean air, clean water and adequate security. Each of these sociological determinants plays an important role in people’s well-being.
In the third step of the planning phase of health equity development, organizations must address these three key issues. In order to do so, there are several methods that can be implemented. First, organizations must ensure that there are sufficient strategies and plans in place to deal with the specific aspects that affect health at different levels. This includes addressing the effects of exclusion, discrimination, violence and health disparities by ensuring appropriate policies, programs and guidelines are in place.
Another way is to conduct a comprehensive review of the current health system, including research, practices, evaluation and practice standards. Reviewing current practice is critical as it helps in identifying gaps that need to be closed and modified to create a healthier environment. Next, organizations must monitor changes in health systems over time as these impact quality of care, access to services and financing. Health promotion snapshots provide tools to evaluate health system performance on a regular basis, in order to identify improvements needed. Periodically, organizations should also evaluate and review their strategies and plans for promoting healthy environments.
Organizations that focus on promoting a healthy society must also consider the factors that affect health and well-being. These include sociological determinants of health, environmental determinants of health and the roles of people from various social categories. All of these factors must be taken into account when developing and designing programs. Programs that are developed to meet the needs of the entire population are more likely to succeed, as these will be more appealing to a wide range of people. The inclusion of gender identity and sexual orientation in public health initiatives can help to ensure greater equality in health care.