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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Assessment and communication strategies for health promotion Peters, Heidi Freya


Many of the major chronic diseases, accidents and premature deaths in Canada are preventable, indeed, by actions well within the control of each individual. Therefore, the central theme of health promotion, appropriately, is to inform, educate and motivate people to take personal responsibility for their own health, and in particular, to undertake relevant programs for lifestyle change. The intent of this thesis is to make recommendations for the integration of health risk assessment and communication strategies in the planning of effective health promotion programs for the people of British Columbia. A review of the diverse literature examines what is already known about these topics, and draws conclusions. Also, interviews and correspondence have been conducted with Canadian, American and Australian experts in the fields of health promotion, health risk assessment and communications. The main topics of this study have been: 1. The definition of health and health promotion, the obstacles and benefits involved in promoting healthful lifestyle behaviors, and the current federal and provincial health promotion policies are addressed in Chapter 1. 2. Health risk assessment, an approach to screening, educating and motivating people to change behaviors in order to improve their health, is reviewed in Chapter 2, using a matrix of selected characteristics. 3. Since all available pathways should be used to reach individuals of different populations, Chapter 3 addresses the need for a consumer-oriented marketing approach to health promotion. A model for planning communication strategies for health promotion aimed at influencing attitudes, knowledge and lifestyle behaviors is presented. This plan discusses in particular, the use of interactive computer technology and mass communication strategies for the promotion of lifestyle reform. 4. A major means of initiating health promotion policy, directions is through cooperative efforts between federal, provincial and local governments, and with professional and voluntary associations, business and labour. Thus Chapter 4 attempts to marry the concepts of risk reduction and communications by proposing five policy initiatives for health promotion in British Columbia. These initiatives attempt to address the following objectives: - to develop a coordinated public/private sector effort and funding mechanisms for health promotion; - to design, implement and evaluate a package of comprehensive health risk assessment instruments for use with different target populations; and - to develop, implement and evaluate a sound marketing strategy which uses these instruments in various health promotion settings. A health promotion coordinating agency is proposed, comprising a partnership of consumers, public and private health care providers, and the mass media. Criteria for designing comprehensive health assessment instruments are developed. It is anticipated that this study will offer planners and policy-makers relevant and useful recommendations and guidelines for the integration of risk reduction and communication strategies into effective health promotion programs.

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