Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is “an orderly system of adaptive self-organization” characterized by “a capacity for adaptation that can overcome environmental challenges and acquire and use the necessary nutrients and energy.” A variety of other definitions have also been used over the years. In its basic sense, health is the ability to survive, protect and carry out our basic needs. In a more encompassing sense, health is about relating to others, coming into being a source of help and support to others.
Health promotion/public health is all about promoting health. It is about being aware of the warning signs and risks of health disparities, preventing disease, improving health, making a difference and reducing or eliminating health disparities. The World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund define health equity as “fair access to healthy environments and the ability to attain optimum health through improved knowledge, policies and practices.” The World Health Organization and the WHO defines health education as “the process of communication and information dissemination designed to improve the quality of health and identify the opportunities for improvement in health.”
Public health promotion are intimately related. Public health is an essential component of all strategies to reduce health disparities. For example, comprehensive health promotion programs for children and vulnerable groups such as women, children at risk, HIV/AIDS infected people, rural and tribal communities, and indigenous persons are important for reducing health disparities. By creating awareness, promoting effective implementation, analyzing current trends and making recommendations, public health can address health disparity on many dimensions.