What is Health Promotion?

Health promotion enables people to maintain a healthy body that will function properly, resulting in improved healthy and disease-free life. It includes public policies that address health-related factors, such as employment, working conditions, food security, housing, and income.

What is the relationship between Health gain, Health improvement and Health promotion?

The objective of health promotion is to enhance or improve the health of the members of various communities. It entails advancing, supporting, and elevating people's health to a greater priority on both public and personal agendas. It is known that the major socio-economic health determinants are generally beyond collective or individual control. The idea is to help people gain more control over their lifestyle and health. It has been observed that the way people perceive health improvement varies with government strategy. With better health promotion and health improvement strategies, the public can be more educated about health gain and improvement methods. The terms "health gain," "health improvement," and "health development” are used to describe the process of improving people’s health. Health development entails the improvement of the health of the groups and individuals in a nation.

An earlier definition of health gain states that it is a measurable enhancement in health. Here, the term "measurable" indicates that it should be possible to give a numerical value to health status to show the occurrence of the change. The changes in the health of individuals or groups due to intervention are termed attributes. This intervention comprises the methods that systematically improvise a person’s health.

The health gain cycle involves taking care of health needs, targets and controlling the measurable. Health gain focuses on the different health outcomes. The priorities can be compared by considering how they provide health gains for groups or individuals.

There are three levels of public health in terms of involvement. These three levels are as follow:

  • Voluntary sector staff, health workers, social workers, and teachers possess a special role in health improvement. They must implement a public health ideology and appreciate and encourage the contributions of health staff members in improving health and wellbeing while receiving specialized support locally.
  • A small group of people, such as environmental health officers and health visitors, practice with groups and communities. The health officers help to identify and understand the health issues in public.
  • There is another small group of health specialists from related professional and medical backgrounds at the upper level who possess more responsibilities to manage changes strategically and form public health initiatives. This group comprises medically qualified public health doctors and health promotion specialists.
A cyclic flowchart shows the health gain cycle. There are four rectangular boxes in the given diagram, connected with curved pointed arrows positioned clockwise. One box is present in the top central region, which is labeled as "Health needs assessment (Where are we now?)". Another box is present in the bottom central region, which is labeled as "Make agreements and commission health services and programs (Specifying how we will get there)". The left central box is labeled as "Evaluation (How well are we doing? How far have we progressed?)". The right central box is labeled as "Decide priorities and set targets (Where do we want to get to?).
Health gain cycle

What are the scopes of Health promotion?

Health promotion encompasses a wide range of activities that aim at making an individual healthy. These activities include patient education, education of school and university students about public policy issues, prevention, and curative medical procedures. Further attempts have been made to create models for health promotion and establish them. This facilitated the categorization of activities to clarify the scope of health promotion. Their main objective is to detect the activities that help gain health profit and implement decisions for health improvement. Positive health activities promote improvements in the social, personal, and environmental conditions of people. They aim to reduce poor health conditions and promote healthy living conditions.

Disability services and illness

Disability services refer to the various amenities that are made available to people with physical or mental disabilities. These services are of the following types:

Personal social services

The social services aimed at addressing the needs of the sick and disabled are categorized as personal social services. The main purpose of these services is to provide help and care for the elderly and community care for mentally ill people.

Healthcare services

These include the services provided by the healthcare sector, such as primary care and treatments in hospital settings. Helping people with foster homes is rarely included in health promotion activities. These services help people gain more control over their health and work toward improving it.

Health education programmes

These programs educate people about health and help them improve it. They share skills, help in making health decisions, and provide the concerned information. Students of schools and universities can efficiently contribute to these programs because of their better understanding.

Self-empowerment and self-esteem are the components of health education programs that enable people to create actions about health. They can also occur at a personal level, such as at the levels of health client, health visitor, student, and teacher in a school or university, or a group like an exercise class or reach large population groups through exhibitions, health fairs, and mass media. Health education programs should be a part of personal social services and healthcare services so that an understanding of primary, secondary, tertiary, and quaternary education can be formed.

Primary health education

The programs in primary health education are aimed at reducing the signs of poor health in people. This area encompasses the majority of health education for young people and children. These deal with nutrition, social skills, personal relationships, and sexual health and generate a positive sense of self-worth in young children. They prevent illness and promote positive wellbeing.

Secondary health education

Health education plays an important role in reducing the chances of ill health and the onset of any irreversible or chronic disease. Secondary health education is the process of educating people regarding their health conditions. Restoration of good health may change the patient's behavior or compliance with the therapeutic region. Health education is significant, given that therapy and treatment are effective and there should be no recurrence of the illness.

Tertiary health education

These programs aim at educating caregivers and patients regarding illnesses or disabilities that have remained uncured due to certain complications. The main agenda of these programs is to teach how to avoid unnecessary restrictions and differences in lifestyle.

Quaternary health education

It focuses on facilitating better physical, social, and emotional wellbeing and empowerment during a terminal stage. It is not easy to categorize people into the primary, secondary, or tertiary layout as the state of health of every individual is different.

An image shows an oval-shaped structure in the center which is labeled as "Areas of health promotion activities”". Four inward arrows are present on the left and the other four inward arrows are present on the right of the central shape. Each arrow is attached to an oval-shaped structure. The top right oval-shaped structure is labeled as "Preventive health services" and the rest oval structures are labeled as "Community-based work", "Organizational development", "Healthy public policies", "Environmental health measures", "Economic and regulatory activities", "Social marketing", "Health education, primary, secondary and tertiary", respectively.
Areas of health promotion activities

Social Marketing

According to the National Social Marketing Center (NSMC), social marketing, in terms of health promotion, aims to achieve social good by managing, achieving, and specifying behavioral goals that facilitate health improvement and reduce related inequalities. Social marketing is a systematic process in which various marketing techniques address long-term, medium-term, and short-term issues. The six concepts and features that help us to understand social marketing are as follows:

  • Consumer or customer orientation: A strong orientation of customers is based on the understanding of the knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes of customers and the social context in which they live and work.
  • Behavioral goals and behavior: The behavioral goals are set by understanding the existing behavior and the factors that influence them. These are divided into measurable and actionable stages.
  • Intervention mix and marketing mix. To achieve a particular behavioral goal, a mix of different interventions or methods is used. Intervention mix refers to the group of methods set to achieve a specific behavioral goal at the strategic level. On the other hand, the operational use of methods to achieve the set behavioral goals is referred to as the marketing mix.
  • Exchange: This includes the use of the concept of exchange, its understanding, what is being expected by people, and the related cost to them.
  • Audience segmentation: It prioritizes completing the needs of the customer through strategies customized for a particular audience group to increase profits.
  • Competition: It shows the understanding factors that affect people and compete for their time and attention.
An image shows the steps of process planning on social marketing. There are five consecutive horizontal arrows found in the diagram. The first horizontal arrow is labeled as "Scope", the second horizontal arrow is labeled as "Develop", the third horizontal arrow is labeled as "Implement". The fourth horizontal arrow is labeled as “Evaluate”. The fifth horizontal arrow is labeled as “Follow up."
Social marketing uses a total process planning

Preventive health services

These comprise medical services that aim to improve poor health conditions through family planning, personal health checks, immunization, and health protection services, such as child protection services that protect abused children.

Community-based work

It is a ground-level approach for health promotion that involves working for and with people and including the necessary development for the communities to identify their requirements and take measures to solve them. The resulting activities may allow forming self-help and pressure groups and developing local services and facilities.

The benefits of implementing the National Occupational Standards (NOS) are:

  • Managers and employers can encourage their staff to improve performance and quality by setting achievable standards. An organization can plot its targets and specify the services it requires by controlling its human resources through job specifications.
  • People can use these standards to enhance their competency by identifying their main work areas, assessing their performance, identifying their learning requirements, and understanding the definition of the learning outcomes required to meet the national standards.

Educators and trainers can apply these standards to change their programs and allow practitioners to develop proper competent skills or use the standards as the basis of their program design.

Common Mistakes

Health promotion should be considered and worked on both the individual and community levels. It is important to understand target goals at the community level to eliminate diseases. Evaluating the patient’s health condition and implementing changes in how things are done on a larger level is important.

Context and Applications

This topic is significant in the professional exams for undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate courses, especially for:

  • Bachelor of Science in Public Health
  • Master of Science in Public Health
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Public Health
  • Master of Philosophy in Public Health
  • Disease prevention
  • People illness
  • Human welfare

Practice Problems

Q1: Which of the following is not a component of social marketing?

(a) Health budget
(b) Competition
(c) Exchange
(d) Audience segmentation

Correct choice: (a)

Q2: Which of the following focuses on providing better physical, social, and emotional wellbeing and empowerment during a terminal stage?

(a) Primary health education
(b) Secondary health education
(c) Tertiary health education
(d) Quaternary health education

Correct choice: (d)

Q3: What refers to the various amenities that are made available to people with physical or mental disabilities?

(a) Primary education services
(b) Marketing services
(c) Disability services
(d) Audience segmentation

Correct choice: (c)

Q4: How many levels of public health are there in terms of involvement?

(a) Two
(b) Three
(c) Four
(d) One

Correct choice: (b)

Q5: What is the term for changes in the health of individuals or groups due to intervention?

(a) Attributes
(b) Intervention
(c) Competition
(d) Determinants

Correct choice: (a)

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