National Health Education Week
Did you know? National Health Education Week is October 19-23. “Sponsored by the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE), this celebration focuses national attention on a major public health issue and promotes consumers’ understanding of the role of health education in promoting the public’s health,” as stated on SOPHE’s web site.
This year, National Health Education Week focuses on the theme of “Past, Present and Future” by looking at where we’ve come from, where we are now, and where we should aim to be in the future as it relates to health education.
Following this theme, here are a few thoughts on our health education evolution.
The Past – A History of Learning
Our past has certainly shaped us. Over the years, we’ve made tremendous medical advancements that have increased our life expectancy (just take a look at the chart to the right!). We’ve also learned from our mistakes via health-demoting consequences, such as cancer being linked to smoking. All of these breakthroughs can be attributed to health education and awareness.
The Present – Individual Empowerment
The current state of our health education is certainly an eye-opening one as we have considerably more information at our fingertips due to our shift to the digital world. This is a huge benefit as “knowledge is power.”
According to The Experian Marketing Services July 2015 data, the top health and information sites are:
- WebMD – Health and medical news information site
- Drugs.com – Drug-information site that lists uses, side effects and interactions
- MedicineNet – Doctor-produced health and medical information site
- HealthLine – Medical information and health advice site
- HealthGrades – Physician and hospital review and directory site
These sites can help you and your loved ones learn more about certain conditions/issues, evaluate medical options and natural alternatives, search for the best qualified physicians/specialists, and research drugs to learn more about their use, side effects and interactions. The more education and information you have, the more confident you and your loved ones will be in making important, health-related decisions.
The Future – Health Advocates and Coaches
As SOPHE states on their web site, “As we look towards the future, health educators will need to continue to promote the profession as a critical component to addressing the health crisis in our society and educate decision-makers on national and state legislative issues related to the health of society.”
It’s important that we keep raising issues, speaking out about health concerns and empowering others.
As a certified health coach and clean food advocate, I can speak to the value of having more health coaches and advocates in the future. Health coaches are incredibly beneficial in helping individuals improve their overall health and happiness by informing and educating them and helping them find the “right” path that ultimately leads to healthier food, environments and lifestyles – all key to maintaining good health. Health coaches not only offer additional resources, information, and guidance, but they also act as accountability partners and cheerleaders encouraging a strong focus on healthy food and living.
Along with coaches, health advocates are vital for raising higher standards for clean food and environments, bringing attention to health issues and concerns and increasing overall health and wellness awareness.
Get informed. Get healthy.