Understanding the Overall Concept of Health Education
Definition of Health Education:
“Anything that educates anyone in the matter of health is health education Health education is concerned with the knowledge of all round health habits”
“Teaching such qualities of life as may enable an individual to live most and to serve best is health education”
“Health education is a process that informs, motivates and helps people to adopt and maintain health practices and life styles, advocates environmental changes as needs to facilitate this goal and conducts professional training and research to the same end”
“Health education is concerned with the health related behaviour of people”
“Health education aims at creating such a quality of life a may enable an individual to live most and serve best”
“Health education is the sum of all those experiences in school and elsewhere that develop favourable habits, attitudes and knowledge related to individual, community, and social health.”
Health education is as general education in nature, which mainly concerns with optimum development of an individual. Health education concerned with changes in behaviour of people and motivates them for getting desirable health attitude.
Health education is a connecting process between health information and health practices. Health education keeps one self- healthy by teaching the values of health and action to be taken to maintain good status of health.
Process of producing deals with the process of learning the desirable behaviour for the promotion of individual physical and mental sourness. Health education is a scientific study of wholesome health attitude and organic vigourness and methods of adaptations of desirable health practices.
It is quite difficult to find a comprehensive type of definition of health education that is satisfactory to all the persons as there are nearly as many definitions of this concept as there are health educators.
It is necessary to define the concept of health education in a comprehensive way which encompasses all of its parts without detracting from any of its parts. There is found to be controversy on the issue of defining the concept of health education.
In reality, the debate among professionals over definition of health education tends: towards two fundamental positions.
There are some experts who advocate the adoption of one definition of health education by which purpose of health educators in all facets of practice in all settings can get satisfied.
While there is other set of experts who are of the view that it is in accordance with the specific task and setting that process of health education keeps on changing or varying.
For this reason, they are of the view that there should be multiple definitions of the concept. Such kind of controversy has led to various kinds of problems in devising a definition applicable to all situations and acceptable to all the persons who practice health education in any way.
It has been found that some practitioners underscore the rivalry that sometimes exists between those professionally trained as health educators who work in special content areas by referring to themselves by their content specialties: Health educator practice has become a major component of preventive medicine, behavioural medicine and health psychology. There can be separate definitions of each of these categories.
In accordance with an expert, Health education is a process which bridges the gap existing in between the health information and health practices. Concept of health education can begin from this definition.
Majority of health educators must be consider themselves as bridging the gap existing in between the information and their practice in reality.
More emphasis is provided to the process in this definition, as a result which it can be said that health education is a well-managed process, which intends to bridge such gap. Not only this, it is the gap which is given more importance by this education.
An expert was of the view that an effective health education program should give more concentration on helping the individual to better understand and appreciate himself by which he can attain self- confidence and self-respect.
Through such kind of program, an individual will find himself in a better position to appropriate or criticise qualities of health of other persons existing around him in effective manner.
Such individuals will be better equipped to think for themselves and to make their own decisions. Not only this, an ability gets developed in such kind of persons by which .they can set realistic futuristic goals.
Some experts consider that individuals are the primary target of health education and affective domain consisting of their attitudes, values and feelings are the major focus of health educational programs.
Student’s attitudes and values during their school years get affected to considerable extent by the kind of health education adopted or used in their schools.
However, in some health programs, more emphasis can be laid on the knowledge level or behaviour pattern of the students, rather than on their attitude and feelings.
Majority of experts are of the view that one of the most important goal of health education is the improvement of health status of native of the nation and to bring about reduction in the number of persons suffering from various preventable diseases.
That dimension of health care that is concerned with influencing or bringing a positive kind of change in the behavioural factors is known as Health Education.
Through this perspective, health education can be described as a behaviourally oriented process which is useful in health care designed for large number of people.
On the basis of various opinions and views provided by experts, health education can be defined as any combination of learning experiences which is designed to facilitate voluntary adaptations of behaviour which is conducive to health of the concerned persons.
This definition can be considered to be a satisfactory one, as by making use of word combination, it recognizes the requirement for a complexity of learning experiences and by requiring these to be designed, it excludes spontaneous kind of teaching from the definition.
Not only this, term facilitates is also employed in this definition, which implies a helping, assisting and supporting role for the educator. Process of health education is based on various principles of education in which the learner is seen as the principal figure in the learning process.
As the condition of voluntary participation of target population is given place in this definition, as a result of which, a line gets drawn between the education and more manipulative forms of influencing behaviour through this definition.
Through this definition, health behaviour as the target outcome for all learning activities become evident, however, it does not rule out other outcomes of knowledge, feeling, values and attitudes.
Thus, this definition can be considered an important effort in uniting the diversified actions of health education under one description. However, this definition is quite operation in the sense that by its application, it is possible to include or exclude various kinds of activities.