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Concepts Of Health & Health Promotion

3087 words - 13 pages

Critically analyse the concepts of health and health promotion and apply your understanding to the development of health work with young people/communities.

Within this essay, I aim to discuss, critically evaluate and demonstrate an understanding of the concepts of health and health promotion and apply my understanding to the development of health work with young people and communities.

The Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary (2006) gives one definition as “the condition of the body and the degree to which it is free from illness, or the state of being well”. The perception of health as described by the World Health Authority in 1948 (citied by Naidoo & Wills 1994) “ is a state of ...view middle of the document...

Dahlgren & Whitehead’s model (citied by Adams et al 2001) demonstrates this clearly by illustrating the main determinants of health as socioeconomic conditions, living and working conditions, social and community conditions, individual lifestyle and age, sex and hereditary factors. This model is holistic and demonstrates properly, all of the factors that can affect a persons health, the implications of these for healthwork are that workers are focused on impacting all of these levels in order to improve health .

Medicine has developed over time, the knowledge and practices of medicine has changed and expanded, in Barry & Yuill (2002) they describe the social construction of medical knowledge as “the degree to which medical knowledge is a product of those engaged in its practice”, this means that medicine and medical knowledge is limited to those who are educated and trained in those professions by those who experienced medical learning in the same way. This process creates a power imbalance as the knowledge stays with those who are privileged enough to access it, it is proposed by Barry & Yuill (2002) that “medical knowledge is a form of power, with the potential to control and influence the lives of its recipients”.

Barry & Yuill (2002) describe that power is given through knowledge and there are various perspectives of health that include lay understanding, medical understanding and alternative understanding. The dawn of the scientific age saw society move away from religious and superstitious beliefs to scientific ways, experiments were carried out and the knowledge was drawn together and taught to medical students. Stacey (citied by Barry & Yuill 2002 p18) argues that the “developments that took place laid the basis from which biomedicine developed.”

Biomedicine is the traditional underpinning of health, based on a medical approach and is most frequently used. The development of biomedicine as the dominant perspective on health has occurred as the evidence developed was scientific and was seen as “unbiased, rational and purely descriptive of the natural word.” Barry & Yuill (2002 p19).

However, Naidoo and Wills (1994) describe assumptions of the biomedical view of health and state that the body is like a machine, it is connected in all parts but parts can be treated individually. Biomedicine in addition, assumes that health equals all parts of the body functioning correctly, this assumption does not allow for a disabled person to achieve health. A biomedical view expects illness to equal a measurable malfunction, disease is caused by internal processes, individual failure to regulate lifestyle and pathogens invading the body. These assumptions can be criticised as they do not allow for other causes of illness and that all illnesses will have the same characteristics in every patient., this in turn could lead to patients being undiagnosed. The final assumption described is that medical treatment aims to restore normal...

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