Health Promotion and Health Education

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Health Promotion vs. Health Education People often times use the words “hazard” and “risks” interchangeably without knowing their distinctions. To cite an example, ‘hazard’ should be perceived as the source that can harm a person but a ‘risk’ is the idea that a person may most likely be adversely affected when exposed to a ‘hazard’ and not all people are aware of this. The same way happens to ‘health promotion’ and ‘health education’. Hence, this paper intends to provide briefly a better understanding about the concepts on health promotion and health education. It attempts to determine the borders that draw the line between health promotion and health education as well as identify where they overlap.
By definition, health promotion, according to H. Seymour, is “aimed at delivering a “positive pursuit of fitness and wellbeing by means of a whole range of activities including health education, legal and environmental controls and influences on social and economic factors” (Seymour, 1984). On the other hand, WHO defines health education as the “Consciously constructed opportunities for learning involving some form of communication designed to improve health literacy, including improving knowledge, and developing life skills, which are conducive to individual and community health” (WHO, 2012)
As to the points of perception where they overlap, both are driven to achieve a healthy world, that is, to have healthy individuals who make healthy decisions to manage their well being, community and environment. Both concepts work on the same sphere of interventions such as in the education, health, political, social, economic and environmental arenas to include policy making, empowering communities, better health treatment and care, among others. However, their methods, content and framework models of implementation are done differently. According to Howard Seymour, “both are not unitary but when looked at in details but from the point of view of their practice, all mirror various aspects of each other” (Seymour, 1984). Both are “regarded vital to society because both “address the risks that lead to diseases, reduce medical treatment costs, reduce costly premature deaths and disability, advocate and lobby for health legislation, among others” (‘Health Education Specialist’, n.d.) and just about anything for the whole welfare of every individual living in this world.
Their differences would start from the report that “health education still exists as a sub-set of overall health promotion activity” (What’s the difference between…”, n.d.). This claim is further seconded by World Health Organization when it stated that “Health education forms an important part of the health promotion activities” and “In conclusion, health education, as one component to the broader area of health promotion…” (WHO, 2012).
How do these collectively influence health education specialists? Both as dynamic fields, each skilled professional as health education specialist has changed diversely over the years from simply communicating through education. As policies were institutionalized while the growing demands in a dynamic environment prevailed, the role for both has continuously been upgraded to integrate interdisciplinary knowledge and skills for the implementer to perform effective multifunctional roles in a given individual or community health care setting. Now implementers of both do the role of “preparing emergencies, support community coalitions, plans a worksite wellness program, evaluate programs, promote behaviors and environments, formulate and enact appropriate health legislation, train lay health advisors, work with families to improve safety, address to lessen risks and hazards, plans and market evidenced-based programs, among others” (Health Education Specialist, n.d.) , a diverse array of responsibilities that require greater commitments far and beyond the limits.
Finally, there is still that cloud of confusion over these terms, but it would be just appropriate, at this moment, to be cleared with these concepts on health promotion and health education or to know the delineation between these two entities particularly for health education specialists or educators for them to be able to have a mindset of doing things right to the right beneficiary at the right time.
Works Cited
“Health Education Specialist” (n.d.) [Video] United States, Society for Public Health Education
Seymour, H., (1984). Health Education versus Health Promotion- a Practitioner’s View. Health Education Journal. 43, 37.
Whats the difference between health promotion and health education? (n.d.). In Free Library Online. Retrieved from
World Health Organization. (2012). Health education: theoretical concepts, effective strategies and core competencies: a foundation document to guide capacity development of health educators. WA, World Health Organization. Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean