Health and wellbeing of people are essential for a community or population as a whole. A healthy population is a valuable asset to every country because it gives people the opportunity to live better lives, exploit their potential, create families, and contribute to country’s wellbeing. Although many countries realize that health is a fundamental priority and make considerable progress in improving it, there is a still a wide array of issues that need to be addressed in order to foster the progress that has been achieved and establish strategies that would promote health.
Although some of the factors influencing health such as environmental state, quality of water, hazardous emissions, etc. are beyond our scope, there is a number of factors which we may control directly thus enhancing the health.
There might be an abundance of strategies for improving health, but none of them will be effective if health basics are not instilled in children from school years. With this in mind, the first strategy and the cornerstone of health should lie in promoting health starting from the school years. According to the World Health Organization, “children are the most important natural resource.” (World Health Organization, 2000, p.1). Governments need to realize that healthy children hold the key to the successful future of a country. All the tools are in place to initiate and implement health promotion programs in schools. It is important to understand that promoting health among children does not merely depend on exercise classes. School curricula need to be comprised of classes and seminars that will help children make more informed choices and adopt healthy behaviors since early years throughout their lives.
The second strategy towards better health lies in our food preferences, the saying ‘we are, what we eat’ is rather topical and illustrates the problems that one may face due to poor eating behaviors. The issue is aggravated by the omnipresent commercials on TV, Web, and magazines. The major problem lies in poor diet and abundance of carbohydrates and fats which all leads to coronary heart diseases being the leading cause of death in the UK (Campbell et al. 2007). Obesity is taking on alarming proportions and aside from aggravating health, results in 110 000 deaths a year in England alone (Campbell et al. 2007).
Taking the above into account, health specialists recommend a healthy diet as an effective health strategy. Not only will a healthy diet promote overall health and well-being, but it will also reduce the risk of heart diseases. Even those who have already been diagnosed with the coronary disease may see positive changes and disease regression by adopting healthy food habits (Campbell et al. 2007). Undoubtedly, a healthy diet is an effective strategy towards better health.
Solid health strategies would not be complete without the eradication of drinking and smoking habits. It is common knowledge that habits such as drinking and smoking lead to an array of diseases. The third fundamental strategy for improving health implies discarding unhealthy habits such as drinking and smoking. Anti-smoking and anti-drinking campaigns organized at schools or colleges and public service advertising may of course encourage people not to start smoking or drink less, although according to British Medical Journal “regulations to limit alcohol availability are more effective than voluntary agreements with the alcohol industry in reducing alcohol-related harm.” (Marteau, Ogilvie, Roland, & Suhrcke, 2011, p. 264).
According to the World Health Organization, physical inactivity is one of the seven leading causes of the disease burden in Europe (World Health Organization, 2014). With this in mind, physical exercise should be viewed as one of the fundamental strategies for improving health. People need to be motivated into incorporating physical routine into their lives. As more and more people spend most of their time in front of computer screens, immobility is becoming an increasing problem. Finding at least 30 minutes a day for trivial exercise such as mere walking or choosing stairs instead of an elevator may, in the long run, contribute to better health.
In our fast-paced world, people are often under pressure at work trying to meet deadlines, students are stressed out in colleges attempting to pass the final exams, and get a degree. Stress has become a part of our life, and all the above strategies will be reduced to nothing unless one learns to tackle it. While it is impossible to completely remove stress from our life, reducing stress levels may be a powerful strategy for improving health and eliminating stress-related diseases.
The last, but certainly not the least is the prevention strategy of regular doctor visits and checkups. Unfortunately, for most people, doctor visits are associated with acute health problems, and most people turn to doctors only in desperate times. The strategies for improving health are not complete without regular checkups, and neglecting this practice may lead to adverse consequences. Incorporating at least yearly checkups may help prevent or nip incipient diseases in the bud. The problem is aggravated by increased medical costs or lack of medical insurance. In order to alter people’s consciousness so that they view checkups as part of their life, the issue needs to be addressed at the government level.
The powerful arsenal of the above strategies may comprehensively improve health and well-being of every community. A healthy population is a gift to the entire society, and promoting health on all levels needs to be made everyone’s priority.
Campbell, C. N., Murray, E., Darbyshire, J., Emery, J., Farmer, A., Griffiths, F., Guthrie, B., Lester, H., Wilson, P., & Kinmonth, A. L. (2007). Designing and evaluating complex interventions to improve health care. British Medical Journal, 334(7591), 455–459. Web.
Marteau, T. M., Ogilvie, D., Roland, M., Suhrcke, M., & Kelly, M. P. (2011). Judging nudging: can nudging improve population health? British Medical Journal, 342, 263–265. Web.
World Health Organization. (2000). Local Action Creating Health Promoting Schools. Web.
World Health Organization. (2014). Prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases in the European Region: a progress report. Web.