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promoting health

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Promoting Health (The British Heart Foundation's contribution to public health) By Louise Smith What is health promotion? The term health promotion is used in a number of different ways. According to Naidoo and Wills (2000) these different understandings of the definition of health promotion are as follows; sick salesmanship of health, attempts to persuade an individual to change their lifestyle, a combination of organisational interventions designed to prevent disease, and, an approach and philosophy of care that encourages everyone to value independence and be aware of different factors and individual choice. Indeed health promotion derives from the concept of health education and the dominant factor is that to be healthy means to be absent from disease, and therefore to be able to promote good health, information of what illness etc is, should be made available to the public. This was introduced in 1848 when the Public Health Legislation saw the appointment of Medical Officers of Health, to distribute information to the public, in order to safeguard the public against certain threatening diseases such as small pox, typhoid etc, as these diseases were rife in this era. Over the next decade the emphasis shifted from public awareness to looking at the publics' personal habits and behaviour and in 1968 the Health Education Council began publicity campaigns. ...read more.


But it is necessary to start at the beginning, with the forming of this organization. The British Heart Foundation was actually founded back in 1961 by a group of medical professionals who were concerned about the increasing death rate from cardiovascular (heart) disease. {Cardiovascular disease is still the UK's biggest killer today, being the cause of 117,000 deaths a year (heartstats.org)} Their aim back then was simply to raise money to help fund extra research into the causes, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of heart and circulatory disease. Since then their achievements have only allowed for further research and as it stands today, the British Heart Foundation is the UK's major funder of all heart research, and as a result of this ongoing research, is responsible for improving the 'heart health' of millions. Over the years there have been vital major advances in the treatment and prevention of all major heart diseases and defects as a result of the British Heart Foundations' contribution to public health promotion. Some of these advances are as follows:- Effective drug treatments refined in the '60s, to improve the condition of patients with high blood pressure.- Pacemakers began to transform lives. Implantable pacemakers first became available in the mid 1960s. Their refined use over the years has enabled thousands of heart patients to enjoy a better quality of life. ...read more.


This is basically a scheme of nurse-led care in which 16 posts of heart failure specialists have been established across the UK to improve the treatment of heart failure and improve the quality of life for patients and their carers. As well as providing and funding the BHF Nurses who visit heart patients with all types of heart conditions in their homes the British Heart Foundation provide defibrillators and echocardiograph machines for hospitals and emergency services. They also produce publications, videos and other materials for health professionals and the public including children. They inform people about how to improve the health of their heart through public information campaigns, advertising and the media. Conclusion There are many challenges for all health authorities, not just WHO and the BHF, within their roles of health promotion. Not least that every organisation needs the appropriate skill and knowledge base to undertake their function in their individual field. The British Heart Foundation will always require staff, partnership and community development and co-operation to be able to continue to analyse ongoing health issues. Strong leadership is always necessary in any area of health promotion and it is otwardly obvious that any programme set up by the BHF needs to be sustained over time and considerable consistent changes will be required to ensure any resources are made available to enable the BHF to be bold with their mission and to continue improvnig the vital work that they carry out. ...read more.

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