Health promotion is a practice of encouraging particular types of lifestyle choices and habits in people as a way to improve their general wellbeing and lifespan. The action allows knowledgeable individuals to better enable and support the public, increasing their control over their health and living. In general, the practice can be considered to be very beneficial, as it improves the health of the general community and individuals, giving them the knowledge and frameworks to better look after their wellbeing, live longer and happier lives. However, there are also some ethical considerations about this practice that need to be discussed. With the popularity of the notion of a healthy lifestyle, consideration of the honesty and truthfulness of some of the claims made need to be considered. Research made by Guttman (2017) has shown that the promotion of healthy living is a process that can be influenced by outside parties. Many companies and organizations integrate healthy living into their business model, promoting their products as the optimal and effective way to live in a better manner (Guttman, 2017). This advertising, however, can oftentimes be either misleading or untrue, serving simply as a way to attract an audience (Guttman, 2017). Furthermore, government organizations can often become involved in the efforts of protecting and maintaining the health of their people, promoting and regulating specific approaches to the process. These practices can be contrary to the notion of personal agency and choice, which are both important for a person to live, thrive and develop (Guttman, 2017). The question of keeping and maintaining people’s health while also managing the interests of external parties and personal agency in the wake of the modern age is becoming more and more prevalent. It is a healthcare professional’s duty to support and aid people in this endeavor in a variety of ways. This paper will discuss some of the ways in which healthcare professionals are able to address the problems introduced by the popularization of healthy living and health promotion in society. It will address the role health providers have in the process, and the variety of ways they can make their contribution.
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The Role of the Health Professional
Among the many diverse and varied types of health promotion practices that can be adopted by a person, it is difficult to understand and decide what a person should do. When certain practices are being forced on a person by government regulation, alternatively, they can feel like their freedoms are being impeded. Especially in cases where the government is not guaranteed to act in the best interests of its people, ensuring that a person is able to exercise choice in matters of their lifestyle if crucial. The problem arises when one takes into account the fact that even the notion of free choice and personal decision-making is influenced by the environment. Fictitious or misleading advertising of particular products designed to change a person’s lifestyle for the better often shape the people’s perception of what wellness means, creating unhealthy or unnecessary expectations from self and others. Considering all of the above, the healthcare provider has the ability to serve as the guiding force behind a person’s decision-making and lifestyle choices, while making informed comments about an individual’s current status. With the vast pool of knowledge healthcare professionals possess, they are able to better identify beneficial health promotional practices among the sea of available options. Doctors, nurses and other medical staff can act as guiding force to ensure that a person is able to both act of their own volition and make choices informed by latest data in medicine. Research shows that doctors play a crucial role in promoting healthy behavior among the public, and analysis has concluded that an adoption of particular intervention strategies can be effective in delivering better health outcomes (Hors-Fraile et al., 2018). By carefully incentivizing changes in behavior and lifestyle that are fueled by genuine desire for change, healthcare professionals can serve an immense role to the community.
How to Resolve the Issue
The simplest and most straightforward way of implementing change to combat the external issues that arise with the popularity of healthy lifestyle is to improve the frequency and effectiveness of health promotion-related education. As outlined by the genral code of ethics proposed National Association of Healthcare Quality, a healthcare professional should be committed to serving their recipitents, promoting their general wellness, agency and choice (Code of Ethics 2020). With healthcare professionals being the most educated and reliable source of information related to the human health, it is one of the only surefire ways to both allow people to make decisions for themselves and avoid being mislead by companies trying to make money. Education can be performed in a variety of ways and frameworks, including websites raising awareness, online and phone consultation services and in-person visits by an individual. Any of these practices are, of course, not mandatory, and a person can refuse a consultation for any reason they might see fitting. Specific frameworks to offer people dietary and food advice by doctors already exist, and are being used to promoted better nutrition among the old and the young (Edelman & Kudzma, 2017).Similar approach, additionally, can be used to guarantee that each person is informed and up to date on their health status, needs, and the possible pathways to improving their health. Such visit’s primary goal can be a health check-up, or a resolution of a particular person’s problem, but it should also include some advice and information on the benefits and practices of healthy living.
Doctors must act as agents of intelligent awareness in terms of healthcare and health promotion. The use of different tactics can improve the general level of awareness of healthy lifestyle in the general public, as well as give them the ability to feel more secure in their current knowledge. Personal agency and freedom can only truly be achieved when an individual has a nuanced and full knowledge of their circumstances, potential opportunities, and their consequences. By making each person more generally close to that goalpost, healthcare providers play an important role of improving the health and wellbeing of the population through advisory services.
Edelman, C., & Kudzma, E. (2017). Health Promotion Throughout the Life Span. S.l.: Elsevier – Health Science.
Guttman, N. (2017). Ethical issues in health promotion and communication interventions. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication. Web.
Hors-Fraile, S., Rivera-Romero, O., Schneider, F., Fernandez-Luque, L., Luna-Perejon, F., Civit-Balcells, A., & de Vries, H. (2018). Analyzing recommender systems for health promotion using a multidisciplinary taxonomy: A scoping review. International Journal of Medical Informatics, 114, 143–155. Web.
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Code of Ethics. National Association for Healthcare Quality. (2020). Web.