Health education and health promotion are concepts that are hogging limelight these days in different parts of the world. These two have become important tools in the hands of policy makers and authorities in different countries to help people attain high standards of health and wellness. While health education has taken the shape of a social science, being used by governments, to spread awareness about diseases so as to prevent them to promote health, health promotion takes the shape of advertisements to help people develop and maintain optimum health. This article attempts to take a close look at the two closely related concepts to highlight the differences between them.
Health education, as the name implies, is a field of study that draws from medical sciences and all physical and biological along with emotional and psychological experiences to inform and educate people to promote health and to prevent diseases. This includes preventing disabilities and early death because of faulty lifestyles and activities. Health education aims not just to increase the awareness of the people about their health but also to impart knowledge and skills to develop and maintain behaviors and attitudes that lead to better health and wellness.
Authorities all over the world have realized the importance of health education and included this field of study as a subject in schools to influence the behavior of students positively to help them achieve optimum health. Health education on a general level aims to improve the quality of life of the people of the country as it aims to involve not just students but also their families, communities, and even states and the nation at large. Health education also aims to reduce the cost incurred by governments in treating various ailments that can be prevented through knowledge imparted by health education.
Health promotion is a concept similar to health education as it has similar aims and objectives. However, it is not a field of study or a subject being taught in schools. It is better described as support for endeavors and conditions that lead to better health and wellness. The strategies of health promotion are designed to tackle not a single health problem but are used to promote health awareness among the population in general. Health promotion aims to influence the behaviors of people and organizations so that they change their lifestyles and accept their responsibility in causing health problems for others (for example, smoking in public and drunk driving). Health promotion takes the shape of advertisements that try to exert influence on the social behaviors of people and also to make them understand the importance of healthy behaviors and attitudes.
What is the difference between Health Promotion and Health Education?
• Though the aims and objectives of health education and health promotion overlap, health education takes the shape of a field of study whereas health promotion takes the shape of advertisement.
• Health education is increasingly being introduced as a subject in schools to impress upon students the importance of healthy behaviors and attitudes. This is believed to have a cascading effect on all people in the society to develop health awareness and wellness.
• Health promotion tries to shift the focus of responsibility from governments and health professionals to organizations and people by raising the levels of awareness about diseases and prevention of diseases through healthy behaviors and attitudes.