Boosting community health can be challenging. Living a healthy lifestyle is not always about eating good food and incorporating daily workouts into your busy schedule. There are a lot more factors affecting overall well-being.
Our health is determined by our living conditions, including the accessibility to healthy foods, opportunities to be active outside, and a network that encourages us to be healthy. All of this comes under the domain of public health. It focuses on the health of the community and its people.
Undoubtedly nurses and doctors are the heroes saving the world in times of severe pandemics and treating ill communities. But public health professionals are committed to preventing these issues from establishing in the first place.
They achieve this through inclusive research, public outreach, and preventive measures geared towards strengthening individuals enough to care for their health and improve wellness.
These actions eventually lead to a healthy community where everyone knows the repercussions of their actions and surroundings.
But public health is more than that. It is concerned with improving the community’s health through disease prevention and aims to build a thriving and supportive environment for everyone, from the old to the young.
A promising way to make a difference in the community as a professional is through higher education and experience. As far as education is concerned, registering for a degree in master of public health is ideal, as it helps students understand the role of public health in society.
The degree also prepares you to translate your passion for improving the health of communities and individuals into actual outcomes. It is a field with numerous career opportunities that also offer good pay.
Immoral social factors, inactivity, and unbalanced diets result in an unhealthy population plagued with chronic illnesses and excess stress. Even though all communities are different, there are a few ways to help improve public health in a community.
- IMPROVING PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
Promoting physical activity within a community is a crucial part of public health. It plays a critical role in the prevention of chronic conditions. It can help alleviate the symptoms and lead to a better prognosis for people who are sick or suffering.
Alongside the benefits to the individual’s physical health, exercising daily also helps improve mental health. It strengthens cognitive function and reduces feelings of depression and anxiety.
Multiple sectors will need to get involved to promote physical activity in your community, including organizations, governments, and private gym owners.
Local parks and the recreation department play an essential role in physical fitness. Opening new gyms, public pools, trails, and playgrounds is a good start. Training programs, including small group sessions and door-to-door pamphlet distribution, will help build more awareness amongst the population.
Teachers should promote physical sports and make athletic facilities accessible to all kids. The role of public health workers would be to provide updated information through research on the latest methods of strengthening physical health and maintaining assets like the sports field and recreational centers established.
- LAW ENFORCEMENT
Police officers may be the last thing to come to mind when we think about community health and fitness. But they play an essential role in keeping neighborhoods safe and protected. Public health and law enforcement often dwell within the same functioning spaces, addressing mutual challenges such as violence, drug overdose, road safety, and mental illness, all of which have many common underlying social determining factors.
Crime affects physical and mental health in varying ways. The fear of crime can have psychological effects and reduce health-promoting activities such as exercising, sports, and social contact.
Collaboration between public health workers and law enforcement bodies will help strengthen the security system. It will establish a safe and secure environment where each individual in the community feels confident enough to go out, whether for a walk in the park or a play date with kids.
- SCHOOL-BASED HEALTH APPROACHES
It includes health initiatives and nutrition education that is started at school to help children be active and healthy at an early age. School health centers can help students battling complex health needs, ranging from mental challenges to addictions.
Public health workers can help implement such programs and facilitate collaboration between schools and the health sector. Similarly, if kids don’t learn about nutrition at home, then the next best place is their school.
Healthy food options should be made accessible to students during lunchtime. Encouraging children to pay during recess should also be a priority. Implementing after-school activities and weekend sports programs will help the students stay active and healthy.
- VOLUNTEER AT LOCAL NON-PROFIT ORGANISATIONS
Spend time researching social service organizations around you and volunteer at the ones that offer programs aiming to improve the health of your community.
Non-profit organizations aim to establish equitable care for all community members, focusing on the prevalence of justice and meaningful change for underserved populations. These organizations help improve environmental health concerns such as poor infrastructure maintenance, educational or nutritional resources, poor sanitation, violence, and drug abuse.
They play a role in health policy formation and advocating for vital health needs such as vaccinations, over-the-counter pills, and birth control methods.
- MEDIA CAMPAIGNS
With social media taking over almost every aspect of our lives, media campaigns can positively change populations. Whether it is to encourage people to adopt healthier eating options or bring them towards an active lifestyle, social media can significantly help spread the message. Using newsletters, radio ads, bulletins, or message alerts can help condition people’s minds and send the message across. It is an effective way to increase community awareness and engagement.
- REHABILITATION CENTRES
Drug abuse is an overwhelming social immorality that can hold back any community, hindering its growth and progress. It is a rising public health concern worldwide. Drug abuse becomes a more significant issue when it goes unchecked and untreated.
It is the root cause of several social, economic, and health problems. Public health workers should establish rehabilitation centers to fight against drug abuse. Support groups, awareness programs, and rallies are essential in minimizing drug abuse.
Tackling public health issues requires more than just the healthcare industry working alone. When problems are at a large scale, i.e., community level, the measures should also be on a large scale, requiring a variety of stakeholders and community participation.
You may think your actions have no impact on the community, but collectively, all these actions lay the foundation for a healthier, morally acceptable, and strong community.
We hope you learned something about promoting public health in a community. If we missed something, please let us know in the comments below.