Public health is by far different from medicine because public health is majorly focused on the health of the general population. In contrast, medicine, on the other hand, is majorly centered on the health of particular patients. The historical role of public health has been known to avail specialized health services and also providing medical services to the population not covered by medical insurance agencies. However, public health has shifted its primary role to prevention, which involves the development of health policies, assessing the community health status, and assuring healthy living conditions. Moreover, public health in the United States is majorly concerned with the healthfulness and safety of food, air, open waters, and transportation means.
The public health sector has been making efforts to control the effects of the physical environment like water, air, and food on community health. However, while public health has continued to stress prevention, there has been a drastic change in the prevention focus. The significance of the prevention of chronic diseases has significantly proved that prevention is expensive and prolonged. Therefore, this confirms that prevention majorly reduces the cost of treatment and patient care services needed in significant health problems. For instance, the United States spent $2.26 all on health in 2007, and actually, every person spends $7500 on health. On the other hand, an individual only pays $1.21 on prevention (Simons-Morton, McLeroy and Wendel, 2011). Mostly, individual patients are affected by the impacts of neglecting prevention since they spent more money in treatment than they would have spent on prevention.
Proposed Interventions and Results
The United States government developed a national plan for prevention as a way to combat health problems with prevalence, which focused on the promotion of health and prevention of diseases. This plan entails various measures that would play a role in the prevention of diseases.
The health and behavior perspective is one primary intervention that focused on deploying healthy living practices and behaviors as way prevention. This strategy involved using the significance of environmental factors like access to healthcare, quality environment, and the injuries from violence to promoting prevention. Moreover, this intervention also advocated for improving individual behaviors like immunization, sexual behavior, tobacco use, obesity, and physical activity (Simons-Morton et al., 2011). This strategy has yielded excellent outcomes like a drop in tobacco use and irresponsible sexual practices leading to the decreased spread of HIV and other STIs. Most members of the population started taking physical exercise, which played a part in reducing obesity in the community.
Health promotion is another concept that was set to uphold the prevention of diseases. This concept involved the change in an individual’s behavior, lifestyle changing, changing environmental behavior influences, and empowering the people to adopt the changes. Additionally, this concept has been taken in schools where learners are educated on public health, and more health professionals have been trained in health promotion (Simons-Morton et al., 2011). This concept has resulted in the population being more aware of health matters and living healthy lifestyles. Above all, public health has taken control of essential environmental factors like water sanitization and reduced air pollution. However, the health promotion strategy is considered more successful than the healthy behavior perspective. This is because the health promotion achievements like lifestyle cut across preventing other chronic diseases like diabetes type 2. Moreover, health promotion can reach a vast population with minimal use of resources because it is conducted in school and other learning institutions.
From the identified interventions, the theories in health, like the germ theory, fails to explain and control for most problems in modern health like cancer, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. Also, it is identifiable that the inadequacy of studies addressing these interventions contributed to the aspect of uneducated individuals not understanding the importance of health policies and guidelines towards prevention.
- Simons-Morton, B., McLeroy, K., & Wendel, M. (2011). Behavior theory in health promotion practice and research. Jones & Bartlett Publishers.