Determinants of Public Health
The definition of Health has changed through the years. In ancient times a person’s health was seen as the state in which the body had been developed and cared for so that it could carry on. The emphasis was on survival – what was needed to survive.
In more developed countries the focus now is on health in the wider sense of being healthy and well. Healthy habits and a good health system, clean and regularly serviced health centers and a reasonable and affordable health care system are aspects that people in the developed countries consider in great importance in their lives. The need to be able to survive has led to the improvement of these services and the attitude of the people towards illness and infirmity.
People in the United States live much longer than people in other countries. This is probably due to a higher level of healthy behavior and less exposure to health risks. This could be seen in their social structure and their attitude to illness. Americans are much more likely to seek medical help for minor problems and they have lower levels of stress and greater levels of social support. The ability to adapt to chronic diseases is also more successful in America than in other countries.
Occupational health in America is seen as a priority by many employers. They want to protect their workforce from conditions that are related to their jobs. They are concerned about worker health because a healthy worker is more productive and the company will experience lower health care costs. A healthy working population means healthy profits. By promoting healthy lifestyles in the workplace, employers can reduce their overall cost of health care and this, in turn, will have a positive effect on their workforce.
Employers have several determinants of health. One of these is the ability of an individual to get and stay healthy. If a person has a high percentage of unhealthy people in his or her population, that person may be at a greater risk of developing a health problem or disease. In addition, a low percentage of healthy people can lead to an unhealthful working environment.
Another determinant of public health is the level of education and information. An informed and healthy working population is one that has access to the tools and information necessary to avoid preventable diseases and live healthier lives. A healthy economy requires healthy people. A healthy economy will have healthy people and healthy economic growth.