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Chapter 1

Chapter 1 - Taking Charge of Your Health

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Western University
Health Sciences
Health Sciences 1002A/B
Shauna Burke

Chapter 1 – Taking Charge of Your Health What is Health?  Health is a state of complete mental, physical and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity – WHO definition, 1948  Health is, therefore seen as a resource for everyday life. Health is a positive concept emphasizing social and personal resources, as well as physical capabilities – Ottawa Charter, 1986 What is Wellness?  An expanded idea of health  The ability to live life fully, with vitality and meaning o Not necessarily need to be completely physically/mentally/socially well o Example, having a disability but still being happy or, being physically healthy but have a mental disorder  Largely determined by the decisions that you make about how you live your life  Not a static goal but a dynamic process of change and growth  Encompasses 7 interrelated dimensions Seven Dimensions of Wellness  Fluctuate and are not static 1. Physical  Requires healthy eating, exercise, learning about disease, getting regular check-ups, etc.  Influences quality of life and how many years you will live  Health related quality of life – a personal sense of physical and mental health. Requires a full range of functional capacity to enable people to work, play, and maintain satisfying relationships. 2. Interpersonal/Social  Involves learning effective communication skills, developing the capacity for intimacy and cultivating a support network.  Requires participating in and contributing to your community, country and world. 3. Mental/Intellectual  Includes openness to new ideas, a capacity to think critically and to learn new skills.  The ability to process and use information is one of the most important aspects of wellness. 4. Occupational  A sense of personal satisfaction derived from career development  The important aspect of this dimension is that it involves attaining a work-life balance 5. Emotional  Includes optimism, trust, self-esteem, self control, an ability to share feelings  Requires monitoring feelings, identifying obstacles to emotional well-being & finding solutions to emotional problems  Most closely related to your feelings 6. Environmental  Personal health depends on the health of the planet  Requires learning about and protecting yourself against such hazards  Also involved taking action-doing what you can to decrease the dangers 7. Spiritual  Includes having a set of guiding beliefs, principles or values that give meaning and purpose to ones life  Involves the capacity for love, compassion, forgiveness, joy, altruism, and fulfillment  A resources for decreased personal stress  Some health professionals believe it is the core of wellness Infectious vs. Chronic Diseases  Infectious: communicable from one person to another e.g., Tuberculosis, diphtheria etc., common cold, HIV/AIDS SARS H1N1  Chronic: develop and become worse over a period of time caused in part (and sometimes) by lifestyle factors  There is a mixture of things we can and cannot control for both infectious and chronic disease. (ex, lifestyle, genetics) Life Expectancy and Major Health Threats Early 1900’s  Life Expectancy = 58.8 yrs (M) 60.6 yrs (F)  Major health threats were infectious diseases (cholera, tuberculosis, pneumonia)  Spread due to lack of clean water, poor sewage removal, living in close quarters, etc.  Growing trade between countries moved diseases from one to the other After WW II  Sources of infectious disease were soon discovered  Public health measures were introduced and became very important to prevent and control the spread of disease  Adoption of vaccinations and development of antibiotics allowed Western society to control the major causes of morbidity and mortality o Sir Alexander Fleming – discovered Penicillin by realizing that some mold prevented bacterial growth  Huge discoveries began to change the outlook of the modern world – people developed a strong belief in science and medicine  People began to expect that modern medicine could conquer any illness In Canada Life expectancy: Men – 78 years Women – 83 years Many risk factors fall within the realm of persons lifestyle It is easier to pinpoint the cause of infectious diseases that are linked to specific bacteria Health threats are mainly chronic diseases. o Cancer, heart disease and stroke are the top three health threats in Canada Chronic Diseases The best course of action is prevention o Although there are always exceptions (the person who smokes and drinks and lives very long) Individuals have some control over whether they develop certain chronic diseases Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death, followed by a poor diet, inactivity and alcohol use Life Expectancy in Canada  Life expectancy in Canada is among the highest in the world Most health regions with higher life expectancy are in and west of Ontario Life expectancy increases: o As unemployment decreases o Level of education increases o Concentrations of immigrants increases  Health immigrant effect: The first generation of an immigrating population tends to be healthier than the rest of the population because the people that do immigrate tend to be in better health Pan-Canadian Healthy Living Strategy  Goal – decrease chronic diseases by addressing risk factors and societal conditions that contribute to them  Population Health Approach  Considers personal behavior and social, economic and environmental influences on lifestyle choice  Emphasizes healthy eating, physical activity, healthy weights Good Science vs. Bad science reading  What does it mean to have a “representative sample” o A sample size that reflects the same proportions of the population as a whole  What kind of research studies do scientists (generally) have the most confidence and why?  Why does “size” matter when it comes to research studies o The bigger the sample size, the more generalizable for the results  What did you learn that you didn’t know prior to reading this article? o There can be a lot of information in articles that are published and ones that aren’t o Publication bias is also important to be wary of Science Versus Health Promotion Science full of “ifs”, “buts”, “maybes”  It is important to sift though all the information available and then produce information to help people take action  Messages designed to influence behavior must be clear and unequivocal  Scientific proof of cause and effect relationships between lifestyle and illness/death fraught with disagreement  Many health problems require action now – must use information to take action o Easy for those who abuse health to find ‘scientific’ excuse How Do You Reach Wellness?  Examine your current health behaviours o Having the information to change behavior is not enough  Choose a target behaviour  Obtain accurate information about that target behavior o Important for setting goals o Eat healthier vs. increase you daily consumption of fruits and vegetables  Find outside help What Health Behaviours/Health Goals Do Students Often Strive For? 
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