The government has been engaging actively in health promotion in the past. Health promotion is empowering people to control and improve their health. The government has an obligation to take care of its citizens. Through the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion the government has been involved in health promotion. Chronic diseases are diseases that last for a long period of time and they are never cured immediately. Examples of chronic diseases are cancer, diabetes, obesity, arthritis and heart disease. The body conducts research in order to influence legislation. Secondly they are concerned with the health of all Americans indiscriminatingly, concerned with the health of minority races. The body works with the policy makers, public health officials. It also works with the education with education groups and voluntary organisations and community groups. Government should be involved in health promotion to cushion citizens from high health costs. However, this comes with immense economic implications in the form of high taxations on other goods and services. Benefits that accrue from government involvement include increased awareness on the dangers of harmful lifestyles.
Should government be involved in the process of legislating health promotion?
There have been many arguments on whether the government should involve itself in health promotion. The government should get involved in health promotion because first of all the health budget for the chronic diseases is very high. The citizens can no longer shoulder the expenses in terms of taxes. When individuals engage in self-destructive acts they will suffer from the chronic diseases but the rest of the healthy people shoulder the expenses of treating the disease. Secondly these diseases affect the mortality rates and health of citizens in turn affecting the productivity of the nation. On other hand attempting to modify people’s behaviours has been argued interferes with one’s privacy (Kimuzawal et al, 2010). The question of equity arises where the social impact of an individual person is analysed. Why should non-smokers and those who wear seat belts be affected by smokers and people who refuse to wear seat belts? Equity is where people are forced to bear the economic effects of their behaviour. They do this by the body’s actions being modified through such actions as legislation (Manville & Moore, 2010)
Economic implications of the government involvement in health promotion
The main effect of government involvement is the increase of taxes on tobacco and alcohol products. The government applies fiscal measures such as this in order to discourage the people from taking the products since huge intakes increase an individual susceptibility to get chronic diseases (Heirich, 1998). The government therefore gets more income from the sale of these products. The people on the other hand if they insist on buying these products it will cost them more. The health promotion programs that run by the government cost considerable amount of money. There is a budget for them in the national budget. However the cost of these preventive measures cannot be compared to the savings experienced by the country in terms of less government costs in taking care of the chronically sick. The researches carried out by the government and the dissemination of this information to the public has increased public awareness. The government uses mobile phones to disseminate this information. The information reaches many people and it is a cost-effective method (Overly, 2010). People are more concerned about their health watching what they eat. They then keep away from alcohol, tobacco and even fatty foods.When governments are involved in preventive measures research has shown that it reduces the cost of healthcare as more people are healthier (Webster, 2010). It reduces the rate of premature deaths and improves the quality of life. The productivity of the country workforce is increased affecting economic output positively.
The savings and benefits of government health promotion to the public.
According to a cancer research, 43% of the adult smokers try and quit but failure rates stand at 70-80% (Manville & Moore, 2010). The government therefore needs to get involved in health promotion even more. Through its programs, it creates awareness for the people on the dangers of smoking, alcohol and fatty foods. The argument that people do not understand the impact of their poor health practices on the community does not hold any water as there is so much research information released on the media one cannot claim to have been in the dark, knowing nothing. Preventive measures have to be applied as the research shows curative measures are harder and even more costly to apply. At the end of the day the public benefits as they live healthier lives and consume less on medicine for chronic diseases.
Heirich, M (1998). Rethinking Health Care Innovation and Change in America. Boulder, CO: Westview Press
Kimuzawal, et al, (2010). Similar Pressures, Different Contexts: Public Attitudes toward
Government Intervention for Health Care in 21 Nations. Journal of health and social behavior 51 (1): 123–131
Manville, B & Moore, D (2010, November 25). Addictions and answers: a new generation of smokers? New York Daily News. www.nydailynews.com.
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHPH).Chronic diseases: The Power to Prevent, the Call to Control: At A Glance 2009 www.cdc.gov December 14, 2010.Web. December 18, 2010.
Overly, S (2010, November 15). Mobile phones become tools of health promotion. Washington Post. www.washingtonpost.com.
Webster, N (2010). Medicare and racial disparities in health: Fee-for-service versus managed care. Research in the Sociology of Health Care. 28(3) 112-131