Philosophy of Health Education and Health Promotion

            Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is a complete state of physical, mental, and social wellbeing, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.  To understand my philosophy of health education and health promotion, you need to understand my personal definition of health.  I like to define health as the dynamic interaction of the physical, mental, emotional, social, spiritual and environmental dimensions of well being, which when acting upon each other, form an individual’s state of health.  When disease or infirmity are present, the state of individual health changes; however, just because someone is physically unhealthy,  doesn’t necessarily mean that their spiritual or mental health has been altered.

Based on this definition, my philosophy on health education and health promotion is rather simplistic.  First of all, I see health education and health promotion as instruments that are utilized to improve or, in the least, modify the health behaviors of individuals.  The modification of the individual then in turn modifies the health of communities and/or populations.

When used appropriately, these mechanisms help to improve the knowledge, skills, and abilities of individuals and communities in relation to disease causing behaviors.  However, even when used appropriately, health education and health promotion is dependant on one key factor- the individuals’ readiness to change. Therefore, health education and health promotion must be viewed as systematic processes that move people along the path to improving their personal and community health for justified, self-fulfilling reasons.