Although all 28 focus areas listed by the National Center for Health Statistics are important, if budgetary issues limited work to only 10 areas, I would select the following 10 as being the most important: cancer; diabetes; education and community-based programs; heart disease and stroke; immunization and infectious diseases; maternal, infant, and child health; nutrition and overweight; physical activity and fitness; and public health infrastructure. I chose the first nine of 10 because if people are aware of these conditions and programs, they are able to take action and help themselves achieve better health and a better lifestyle. The 10th choice, political infrastructure, needs to be strong for people to have the opportunity to be aware of the other nine selections .
The more information that people have about healthy lifestyle choices, the better they can care for themselves. Behaviors are influences by personal choices, the organizations and institutions that people rely for their health care, the environment in which one lives, and the policies that are in place. Because these different levels and the complex relationships that exist between them are factors that determine one’s involvement with them and their health it has been determined that community-based programs help people care for themselves at all levels and in all settings.
Healthy choices need to be made in all settings in which a person finds themselves. The information needed to make these choices should and is better used if available through a variety of sources. To improve one’s health it is necessary to make changes to end negative behaviors and begin to make better choices. Social support helps individuals become more likely to make these choices .
In order to introduce a successful program for individuals to use successfully within their community I would include rewards with compliance. It may be perceived as a bribe, but having a reward to make a positive choice initially would help influence more people to take a chance and make the healthier choices. For children an in-school reward program would be established. As children make successful transitions to healthier habits, they can be rewarded with programming within their school. Some of the areas would include increased physical activity and eating more fruits and vegetables. Choices would be made during the school day and students could earn privileges by making choices when at home and in the community as well. A movie time for a positive month or an extra gym class would be possible incentives for this group.
Adults could earn similar rewards by making changes in all environments. By eating healthy at work there could be a reward system in place. By participating in physical activity additional points could be earned. A supporting employer could reward employees with time off to volunteer to help with programs that the children earned at school or working with the elderly in their programming areas for making healthy choices as well. Positive peer pressure with benefits may help to establish the initial changes. Making the changes a way of life would be the ultimate goal (Cresswell, 2005).
The selections of cancer; diabetes; heart disease and stroke; immunizations and infectious diseases; maternal, infant and child health; nutrition and overweight; and physical activity and fitness are all areas where people can make positive choices and influence their outcomes. Although people cannot prevent some of the items listed, healthy lifestyle choices help to reduce risk factors. The other areas, including education and community-based programs and public health infrastructure, are the supportive elements needed for people to make the best choices to improve their health.
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n.a. (2010). Healthy people 2010. Retrieved from Healthy People: http://www.healthypeople.gov/2010/About/hpfact.htm