Just ask- Health promotion programmes
The World Health Organisation defines health promotion as "the process of enabling people to increase control over and improve their health". In practice, it can mean anything that increases or promotes health.
People are often unclear about the meaning of the term health promotion. There can also be confusion about the terms health education, health screening, and even health surveillance, and there is particular confusion between the terms health education and health promotion!
The latter is concerned with raising the health status of individuals and communities, placing health higher on personal and public agendas, and addressing the major determinants of health – whether social, economic, or environmental. Of course, this includes occupation.
Employers are being urged to adopt workplace health strategies by the Department of Health, the Confederation of British Industry, the Health and Safety Executive, and the Health Education Authority. Ill health costs employers vast amounts of money and results in many lost working days every year, so it makes economic sense for employers to do what they can to encourage their staff to be fit and healthy, as reduced absenteeism leads to improved productivity and greater competitiveness.
Many of the causes of sickness absence are lifestyle-related. By improving health at work employers can look forward to improved morale, reduced staff turnover, and reduced recruitment costs, and costs due to early retirement. And it is not only employers that can benefit; health promotion can promote people's self-esteem and confidence, empowering them to take more control over their health.
Employees may also benefit from an increased sense of well-being, less dependency on others, reduced risk of illness, more effective treatment of existing health problems, and more appropriate use of health-care services.
Health promotion allows for the targeting of specific groups that it would otherwise be difficult or impossible to contact. In some instances, it appears that workplace health promotion programmes may achieve better results than programmes in the community.
Health promotion has progressed over recent years and different methods of delivery have evolved. The "healthy workplace" model is orientated towards both the environment and the individual. It addresses the broader aspects and includes the following principles:
• Workplace health promotion can be applied to all groups in the workforce;
• It is directed at the underlying causes of ill health;
• It combines diverse methods of approach; and
• It aims for effective employee participation.
Every care is taken in the preparation of these questions and answers, which are supplied by Croner Consulting, a trading division of WoltersKluwer(UK) Ltd. Any advice or guidance contained herein is not to be taken as the official advice or guidance of IOSH or SHP/UBM. The information is correct at the time the answer was formulated and posted. However, the answers given can only address the general principles involved. Professional advice must be sought on any specific query or problem your business has relating to any issue or area raised.
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