People can stay healthy as they age, in part, by assuming personal responsibility for their health. Engaging in healthy behaviors and having access to preventive services and quality health care are important components of health promotion. But they are not enough. Social determinants of health are also important predictors of health outcomes and health behaviors. These include access to employment, education, housing, healthy foods, safe streets and neighborhoods, and social supports. Addressing social determinants with effective public policy and evidence-based interventions can help reduce barriers to healthy living.
HEALTH PROMOTION: Policy
HEALTH PROMOTION: Policy
Facilitating health promotion
Health-promotion programs should focus on the unmet needs and preferences of all communities, including members of groups who are discriminated against and consumers with low incomes.
Federal and state governments should facilitate health promotion including:
- adequately funding preventive health services and health-promotion programs (e.g., nutritional screening and counseling, exercise and weight-control programs, and drug-, alcohol-, and tobacco-addiction treatment programs), and preventive health-education programs for people who need them;
- educating individuals about risk factors for prevalent health conditions, behaviors that reduce health risks (e.g., exercise and nutrition), and the importance of receiving preventive care (e.g., mammography, cancer screening, early immunizations for children, and influenza and pneumococcal pneumonia immunizations for older Americans);
- educating the public about the effect of guns and violence on the public’s health, as well as the human costs of preventable injuries and premature deaths;
- supporting outreach and education about the value of engaging in healthy behaviors, with information targeted to consumers, family caregivers, and employers;
- identifying ways to support the implementation of evidence-based, nondiscriminatory workplace wellness programs by small employers;
- supporting the inclusion of prevention and health-promotion content in curricula for health care professionals;
- funding and supporting community-based strategies to address the social determinants of health; and
- identifying health-promoting behaviors, the ways in which such behaviors are linked to health improvements, and the costs and benefits associated with health-promoting behaviors.
National prevention and health-promotion outreach and education campaigns should be developed and implemented by federal, state, and local governments, along with private-sector partners. These efforts should target all populations, addressing barriers to adequate care and supports. Such campaigns should be culturally and linguistically appropriate and delivered by trusted sources.
Efforts should be accessible for people with varying abilities, including those with hearing and vision impairments.
Web-based tools to disseminate health-promotion and disease-prevention information and generate personalized prevention plans should be:
- accessible to people with vision and hearing impairments,
- developed in a culturally competent manner, and
- available in as many languages as is feasible or provided with a website functionality for easy translation.
Governments should fund efforts to promote evidence-based health-education opportunities. They should also provide individuals with access to affordable and appropriate preventive health measures.