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and looking at Chronic Disease Management + Co-morbidity

What is Health Promotion & Disease Prevention? And why bother?

Health promotion and disease prevention programs focus on keeping people healthy.  In medicine, too many of us get bogged down with treating actual disease when it happens that we forget about try to prevent it in the first place (disease prevention).  And often, we are so concerned with getting those medically unstable to a stable position that we forget about those who are stable but will go back to being unstable and develop other disease processes if we don’t help them to look after THEIR OWN HEALTH CONDITION (health promotion & further disease prevention).

Health promotion aim to engage and empower individuals and communities to choose healthy behaviors, and make changes that reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases and other morbidities. Defined by the World Health Organization, 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.”

Disease prevention differs from health promotion because it focuses on specific efforts aimed at reducing the development and severity of chronic diseases and other morbidities.

Wellness is related to health promotion and disease prevention. Wellness is described as the attitudes and active decisions made by an individual that contribute to positive health behaviors and outcomes.  Health promotion and disease prevention programs often address social determinants of health, which influence modifiable risk behaviors. Social determinants of health are the economic, social, cultural, and political conditions in which people are born, grow, and live that affect health status. Modifiable risk behaviors include, for example, tobacco use, poor eating habits, and lack of physical activity, which contribute to the development of chronic disease.


It’s not just about stopping smoking, not doing drugs, getting fitter, not drinking alcohol much and eating more healthily.   There are lots of other types of health promotion and disease prevention activities.   Don’t limit your mind – you might come up with something innovative and transformative.  Here are a few more examples.

Typical activities for health promotion, disease prevention, and wellness programs include: 

  1. Communication: Raising awareness about healthy behaviors for the general public. Examples of communication strategies include public service announcements, health fairs, mass media campaigns, and newsletters.
  2. Education: Empowering behavior change and actions through increased knowledge. Examples of health education strategies include courses, trainings, and support groups.

Examples of effective health promotion activities for child and family health

  • Promoting breastfeeding
  • Promoting child and family nutrition
  • SIDS prevention and education
  • Injury prevention
  • Promoting physical activity
  • Smoking cessation programs such as ‘quit’ activities and ‘brief interventions’
  • Promoting early literacy

Please leave a comment if you have a tip, spot an error, spot something missing or have a suggestion for a web resource. And of course, if you have developed a resource of your own, please email it to me to share with others.

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