Strategies for health promotion – analysing health campaigns

Strategies are plans of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim (to improve something). The government’s main focus/concern is public health they have put in place many strategies which are being used to improve the health of our country. They aim to promote health and make people aware of the health risks that they currently in and may be in, in future life, with these strategies. The strategies educate people on how to transform their lifestyles in order to prevent those risks from happening. One of the main topics of concern for the government is obesity. Obesity has slowly become an epidemic. Many strategies to tackle it have been set:

Change4Life”Eat Well, Move More, Live Longer”

Change4Life is a society-wide movement that aims to prevent people from becoming overweight by encouraging them to eat better and move more. It came into place on January 2009. Change4Life is set out to make people aware of the fact that they are not getting the needed amount of physical activity and that they are not eating the right foods to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Lack of exercise and increased consumption of unhealthy foods has led the whole population to become ether overweight or obese.

Change4Life stresses that in order to prevent the problem of occurring and getting worse we need to make changes to our lifestyles. It promotes ways in which we could improve the way we eat and increase our levels of physical activity. Change4Life focuses not on how “big” we are but on the amount of fat our bodies contain. Body Mass Index or BMI is the measure of one’s body fat based on only your height and weight and more commonly used to access health risks associated with increased body mass. Your body composition is calculated from the percentage of body fat, muscles, bones, water, and tissues in your body and provides and more detailed estimate of your conditioning. It is aimed at everyone but focuses mainly on children.

Worldwide 22 million children under 5 are severely overweight. Change4Life states: ‘If we carry on as we are, 90% of today’s children could be overweight or obese by 2050. Changes have to be made now if we are to stem the rising tide of obesity.’ Therefore it is important for parents to join and support this campaign along with their families. This campaign will open their eyes to the great health concern that is obesity for the sake of the nation’s children.

The government has produced posters and leaflets which are bright, colourful and eye-catching for both adults and children, which are placed in hospitals, GP surgeries etc. They not only contain information about Change4Life but they also contain advice and tips on how to keep fit, how to change your diet so that it is healthier and how families can encourage children to eat the right foods. The government also produced a website where everyone can access a wide range of information which may change not only their own lives but also the lives of their families.

Change4Life also works with convenience stores in poorer areas where access to fresh fruit & vegetables and fresh meat is very limited to give people that much needed access. The government has also produced TV adverts which are played during the hours between 8am and 4:30pm, when children are more likely to view them as the target audience of Change4Life is families. On the following pages there are examples of a Change4Life leaflet and a print screen of their website.

Change4Life promotion: “Help stop childhood obesity” Leaflet (Pgs. 8-9)

Change4Life promotion: Website

School Food Trust – “Eat better, Do better”

The School Food Trust strategy was established in 2005. In May 2006 the government asked the School Food Trust to lead their national implementation. This strategy is set out to make sure that the average school lunch offers the right mix of energy and nutrients for growing children, and limits their exposure to sugary, fatty, and salty foods.

The School Food Trust strategy is responsible for the Let’s Get Cooking program. It has established the biggest national network of healthy cooking clubs for children and families. This strategy has already reached more than 1.5 million people with healthy cooking activities, and more than half of those taking part say they eat a healthier diet as a result of learning to cook.

This strategy has proven that it works and schools all over the world should follow it in order to reduce obesity risks amongst children. The Let’s Get Cooking campaign makes sure that the children’s parents learn how to cook healthy meals so the children can become healthy and reduce risk of obesity, balanced meals not only at school but also at home. This helps children to adapt. Schools also teach children how to have healthy lifestyles and even how to cook healthy meals. It gives children motivation to eat healthy food.

The front covers of two online recipe booklets

Sexual Health

The National Chlamydia Screening Programme (NCSP) is an NHS sexual health programme that was set up by the Department of Health in England in 2003. Chlamydia is the most commonly diagnosed sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the UK; affecting both men and women. Since the launch of the programme nearly one and a half million chlamydia tests have been performed by the NCSP. The NCSP aims to ensure that all sexually active young people under 25 are aware of chlamydia, its effects, and have access to free and confidential testing services.

Alcohol

In 2008 Drinkaware was launched. It is an independent, UK-wide charity that is supported by voluntary donations from across the drinks industry including ASDA, ALDI and Marks & Spencer’s, pledged approximately �5.2 million per year through to 2012. Drink aware aims to equip people with the knowledge they need to make decisions about how much they drink. Drink aware aims to change the UK’s drinking habits for the better. They promote responsible drinking and find innovative ways to challenge the national drinking culture to help reduce alcohol misuse and minimise alcohol-related harm. They also work with organisations and individuals across the UK to make the nation aware of alcohol and its effects by using a range of mediums, such as film, multimedia and TV.

Drugs

Reducing Demand, Restricting Supply, Building Recovery: Supporting People to Live a Drug Free Life. This strategy was launched in 2010 by the it aims to reduce the harm caused by drugs by initially stabilising addictions, rather than trying to end them.

 

The strategy outlines the setting up of “Community Recovery Champions” networks where people who have recovered from drug dependency could mentor others who seek their help.

Mental Health

At any one time, one in six people has a common mental health problem, such as an anxiety disorder or depression, and one in 100 has a severe mental illness, such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Six million people in the UK have an anxiety disorder and/or depression. The Department of Health is working to ensure that people look after their mental health and can receive high-quality, personalized support if they need it.

The new Mental Health Strategy will be…

* Mainstreaming mental health.

* Tackling mental health from two sides to improve outcomes for people with mental illness and build resilience and wellbeing to prevent mental health problems in the whole community.

* Taking measures to improve public mental health and wellbeing

Conclusion

There are many public health campaigns which aim to tackle the main health concerns of the government. Mental health, drugs, sexual health and alcohol are the main health concerns however obesity is by far the government’s biggest concern as it is becoming more and more common amongst the public. Our nation is becoming bigger but what concern’s the government more is that our children are becoming bigger in size. Children are the future of our nation and if they become bigger their risks of fatal illness increase, decreasing their life expectancies and jeopardizing our future generation.

Possible causes and explanations for unhealthy lifestyles

Alcohol

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) carried out a study on alcohol and how it links to obesity. In an analysis of data collected from more than 37,000 people who had never smoked, researchers found that BMI was associated with the number of drinks individuals consumed on the days they drank.

“In our study, men and women who drank the smallest quantity of alcohol – one drink per drinking day – with the greatest frequency – three to seven days per week – had the lowest BMI’s, while those who infrequently consumed the greatest quantity had the highest BMIs.”

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