The Need To Develop Healthy Public Policy

1360 words - 5 pages

The new public health approach is trying to involve the public and set the health agenda for the future. This enables the people to express their views on key health issues, and what relationship they feel Government should have to society and personal responsibility. There are two main objectives that the new public health is trying to achieve by involving the public.

Empowering people

Choosing Health identifies how people can be empowered to make healthy choices. It sets out how health can be supported and improved in key environments such as retail outlets, local communities and the workplace. It equally, states where it is necessary for Government to intervene. For example, the health of children is something that families, schools, carers and Government have special responsibility for. So in addition to better information and support, there will be new standards for food across the school day, more to promote physical activity and more education on nutrition.

The new public health approach is trying to modernise existing health improvement and sickness prevention services .

Priorities

Choosing Health reflects the public's health concerns. It respects how people want support, where they want to make their own informed choices, and where they want Government to intervene. When consulted, people said they wanted action to:
reduce the numbers of people who smoke. Smoking can lead to heart disease, cancer and other diseases, and is a choice that affects the health of other people
reduce obesity, as action on diet will help to prevent a range of chronic health conditions becoming more prevalent
increase exercise, as rates of physical activity have fallen dramatically in the last 25 years
encourage sensible drinking, to reduce the health problems associated with alcohol
improve sexual health, as sexually transmitted infections are on the increase
improve mental health, to reduce the impact of stress and depression.

The following recommended strategies for healthy public policy action reflect the consensus achieved in the new public health approach.

Healthy Public Policy
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The main aim of health public policy is to create a supportive environment to enable people to lead healthy lives. Such a policy makes health choices possible or easier for citizens. It makes social and physical environments health-enhancing. In the pursuit of healthy public policy, government sectors concerned with agriculture, trade, education, industry, and communications need to take into account health as an essential factor when formulating policy.

Equity, access and development
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Closing the health gap between socially and educationally disadvantaged people and more advantaged people requires a policy that will improve access to health-enhancing goods and services, and create supportive environments. Furthermore, a healthy public policy should recognizes that everyone gets equal access to health services, particularly community health care, is a vital aspect...

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