NU2301-Promoting Health and well-being of communities and populations

NU2301: Promoting Health  Health Promotion Essay

Aims of Module

To facilitate the student to apply understanding of improving and maintaining the mental, physical and behavioural health and well-being of people, families, communities, and populations.

Learning Outcomes for Module
On completion of this module, students are expected to be able to:
1 Discuss social influences on mental, physical, and behavioural health outcomes.
2 Explore a range of models and approaches to behaviour change.
3 Discuss strategies to improve health literacy of people, families, communities, and populations.
4 Describe health screening and immunisation programmes.
5 Utilise a range of sources of evidence for health and wellbeing improvement.

Indicative Module Content
International, national and local models and approaches to health and well-being improvement. Health promotion, including physical health and mental health across the lifespan Global health challenges, herd immunity, infant nutrition, key policies and legislation, digital literacy, and technology, behavioural change models, including health education, strengths based approach, self-care, resilience, adverse childhood experiences, social prescribing, learning disabilities, dementia.

Module Delivery

Blended learning approach including lectures, tutorials, online learning, virtual community.

NU2301: Promoting Health Essay Example/Health Promotion Essay


Sixteen-year-old Lucas Milne, who suffers from bronchiolitis, is in danger of contracting asthma. His twenty-four-year-old mother, Fiona, is a chronic smoker with a history of substance abuse., following her diagnosis with postnatal depression. Lucas’ father has wholly abandoned the family. The family lives at 123 Brooms Court, which relies on the medical services of a few specialists that serve the entire community. The health facility in the region depends on specialized clinics such as a private practitioner in the field of chiropractic, a private dental surgeon, a pharmacy, and an optician. The recent opening of two shopping centers, Lidl and Aldi, has been a relief to the community members, besides the large Tesco that does not operate at odd hours. However, the area lacks adequate takeaway sources as it is served by an Indian takeaway and a chip store that cannot serve the entire population. The Brooms lacks good fitness facilities as the residents are forced to share a couple of gyms, one of which is a council gym with a pool. School-going children at Brooms attend a primary school affiliated with an academy, and only two school nurses work there, yet the nurse at the academy works part-time. A public library with an IT center is available, and the library hosts community events every month. The Brooms has a mosque and a church. The Brooms has a river that passes through it, with river walks and a small park nearby.

 Social Influences On Mental, Physical, and Behavioural Health Outcomes

Social determinants of health encompass all the conditions in which people exist: situations in which people are born, raised, live, and work and the fundamental factors that influence these conditions. Essential elements such as literacy levels, wealth, and income determine the health status of various community members. Health-related behaviors are directly affected by social factors such as availability of recreational activities, ease of access to nutritious foods, and accessibility to public parks and walkways through which residents can exercise via jogging. The effects of social determinants of health and social determinants of mental health are more widespread at the societal level. They hence may be addressed most effectively through changes in public policy and social norms. Many additional socioeconomic determinants of mental health, such as financial inequality and low education, can be influenced through individual-level treatments and programs and policy reform.

Income inequality is a social determinant of mental health because poverty leads to poor mental health, increases the risk of mental illnesses and substance use disorders, and worsens outcomes for people with mental diseases and substance use disorders. Consequently resulting in poor mental health well-being. Fiona has no support from Lucas’s father, suggesting her low-income margins; hence, she is predisposed to mental issues like depression. Moreover, 123 Brooms Court relies on the two gym facilities showing a low capacity for physical activity and a few medical specialists, indicating that only a few members of the society can afford specialized health care. As a result, Lucas is less likely to access medical interventions at the location. Individual-level interventions are required to address the impact of wealth inequality on mental health. Medical practitioners should examine the economic status of all patients at the clinical level, and they should investigate the extent of income inequality in the community (Islam, 2019). Providers at the Brooms should engage with patients to enhance links between people in poverty and appropriate social services and other socioeconomic determinants of mental health that contribute to poverty and income disparity, such as unemployment and low education.

The quality of educational attainment is directly linked to a community’s general physical and mental health. Brooms rely on a primary school and its academy wing to provide education, which shows inadequate educational facilities to serve the entire population. Higher-quality education and higher academic achievement have been linked to improved social outcomes time and time again, especially demonstrated by a reduction in the likelihood of the educated being involved in criminal activities. In contrast, lack of education or low literacy levels is highly associated with adverse health behaviors such as drug and substance abuse, smoking, poor eating habits, and limited physical activity. Fiona smokes approximately twenty times a day and has a past of substance abuse; therefore, she is linked with poor educational attainment. Besides, she does not prioritize her son’s welfare as she smokes consistently, increasing her son’s chances of contracting asthma. People are at risk for chronic physical disorders such as high blood pressure, obesity, and heart conditions like myocardial infarction. As a result, poor educational achievement, particularly school dropout, should be considered a public health issue (Davies et al., 2018). Furthermore, higher educational attainment is linked to a lower death rate and a longer life span.


Models and approaches to behavior change. The strategies designed to improve health-related behaviors usually have minor effects. Still, they can be more effective if based on sound theory incorporating social, cultural, and economic aspects that influence behavior. Interventions have been directed at known risk factors such as substance abuse while encouraging protective behaviors such as physical activity. Lucas and Fiona can benefit from such interventions as the latter can be encouraged to engage in exercises like weight lifting and yoga while discouraging her from excessive smoking. Moreover, improving adaptation to chronic and acute illness, such as compliance to medical advice, and changing healthcare practitioner behavior to improve the quality and efficiency of services. Consequently, it is essential to have a theoretical grasp of conduct and behavior change to maximize the clinical effectiveness of the intervention.

            The social comparison theory initially proposed in 1954 by Leon Festinger illustrates how people compare themselves to others while evaluating their ideas and wants. Persons or groups often assess themselves by comparing their beliefs and desires to others before adopting new behaviors or retaining their desires. Fiona can benefit from the comparison by attending meetings and support programs for single mothers, and she can observe, learn and copy the behavior of other mothers at the meetings. The theory is attributed to the defensive propensity in which people compare themselves to a reference category whose problems are more significant than their own, often referred to as the downward social comparison. On the other hand, Kurt Lewin devised the change theory, which involves unfreeze, change, and refreeze. Unfreezing defines the interventions that make it feasible for people to recognize the need for change, and a desire to change is instilled in the community.

Consequently, the stage of evolution is enhanced through interventions such as brainstorming to allow people to initiate changes in behavior and desires as they are convinced that the new ways are better than the previous ones. At the same time, refreezing involves establishing the difference as a routine habit in the target group (Muldoon, 2020). Kurt Lewin’s theory can benefit Fiona, as she can be taught the dangers of smoking and substance abuse while being helped to make practicing yoga and reading at the public library a habit.

Strategies to improve people’s health literacy, families, communities, and populations. Health literacy defines the personal and interpersonal elements that influence a person’s ability to access, comprehend, and apply health and services knowledge. Learning, good communication, and systematic instruction can all help to increase health literacy. Health literacy is categorized into functional, critical, and interactive health literacy. Functional health literacy defines people’s capacity to comprehend and interpret healthcare-related information. As a result, those with poor reading and numeracy skills will be exposed to limited knowledge. On the other hand, interactive literacy refers to a person’s ability to actively participate in health and care decisions throughout time and changing conditions. In contrast, critical health literacy explains the capacity of community members to command more of the significant influences of health.

Community-based health workers with sufficient training can rely upon practical health information to the population. The strategy is suitable for serving persons from low-income regions like Lucas and Fiona as they are unlikely to acquire healthcare-related data and information from modern sources of communication. Fiona will learn the dangers of smokers and how she can manage Lucas’s condition better. Health care practitioners should include family members or other caregivers of patients suffering from mental illnesses like Fiona, who suffers from depression, in health decisions and health literacy activities. The strategy has been successful in having this specific population group in health conversations and decision-making and distributing important health information to a larger audience (Parnell et al., 2019).

Moreover, medical practitioners should rely on health information in various formats to account for the many ways people learn. Vulnerable people, such as the poor, have a lower likelihood of acquiring healthcare-related knowledge from the internet than affluent people, so health material providers should use different means of communication to deliver information. Several works of literature have linked that improved literacy levels with an increase in personal efficiency toward health can help disadvantaged socioeconomic groups’ health behaviors and thereby reduce inequities.

Major health literacy assessments have cited ensuring that health and social care services and information are clear and accessible to all, regardless of individual ability, as the best strategy for improving health literacy levels. Applying primary and undeviating language and the deliberate use of appropriate drafts and sketches can help simplify materials. The latter may use tried and true visuals and symbols, but care must ensure that the target audience understands them correctly. It is beneficial to provide short and straightforward textual information, ideally without passive voice or medical jargon. Participants for research studies should be offered content forms supplements with relevant illustrations, demonstrations, and instructions. This has been shown to impact literacy levels (Conrad., 2019) positively. Communication and other mixed-strategy interventions can increase comprehension of healthcare support and assistance among people with low health literacy. These improvements are linked to better health outcomes, such as changes in recognized chronic illness risks and lower reported disease severity, emergency department visits, and hospitalizations among people with established disease.

Health screening and immunization programmes. Immunization is one of the most cost-effective and successful public health initiatives, as active immunization programs have helped to lessen the threat of some of the deadliest pediatric diseases and, in some instances, virtually eliminate it. Immunization programs can protect people choosing to be vaccinated and those who have not been immunized through the development of herd immunity. Besides, screening programs are an essential tool for identifying persons who appear healthy but are at risk of developing an illness or condition. A reliable and valid screening program sifts through a healthy population to identify people who are more likely to develop the disease in question. Those who are more likely to have the condition or at higher risk will have a more diagnostic test to confirm the diagnosis. Both screening and immunisation programs are critical in protecting the population’s health.

            The Diabetic Retinopathy Screening (DRS) program is suitable for residents of the Brooms area since they rely upon one optician to examine their eyes. Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disorder whose blood glucose level rises, causing improper fat metabolism. However, diabetes mellitus can complicate further, affecting the retina’s blood vessels causing diabetic retinopathy, the most significant single cause of blindness and visual impairment. Given that retinopathy is asymptomatic until it is advanced, retinal screening programs can help minimize the risk of blindness in the general population by recognizing retinopathy at an early stage when it can be efficiently treated (Kashim et al., 2018). If identified early enough, treatment can stop the disease from progressing and save their sight for many years in most individuals. The screening test involves a process in which a digital photograph of the individual retina is taken and graded before they are diagnosed and treated. The DRS screening program cover information on the uptake of screening, screening performance, outcomes of screening, and Ophthalmology performance.


            Social health factors such as income and educational attainment influence mental, physical, and behavioral health outcomes. Poverty and poor educational attainment are associated with a rise in the incidence of adverse health factors such as smoking and worsened effects for people with mental illnesses and substance use disorder, resulting in poor mental well-being. On the other hand, higher-quality education has improved social outcomes, significantly reducing the likelihood of the educated being involved in criminal activities. The strategies designed to improve health-related behaviors can be more effective if based on sound theory incorporating social, cultural, and economic aspects that influence behavior. The best method for improving health literacy levels involves ensuring that all health information is relayed clearly and is easily accessible to the public.

Reference List

Conard, S 2019, ‘Best practices in digital health literacy,’ International Journal of Cardiology, vol. 292, pp.277-279.

Davies, N.M., Dickson, M., Davey Smith, G., Van Den Berg, G.J. & Windmeijer, F 2018, ‘The causal effects of education on health outcomes in the UK Biobank,’ Nature human behaviour2(2), pp.117-125.

Islam, MM 2019, ‘Social determinants of health and related inequalities: confusion and implications,’ Frontiers in public health, vol. 7, pp.11.

Kashim, R., Newton, P. & Ojo, O 2018, ‘Diabetic Retinopathy Screening: A Systematic Review on Patients’ Non-Attendance,’ International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 15, no.1, pp.157.

Muldoon, J 2020, ‘Kurt Lewin: Organizational Change,’ The Palgrave Handbook of Management History, pp.615-632.

Parnell, T.A., Stichler, J.F., Barton, A.J., Loan, L.A., Boyle, D.K. & Allen, PE 2019, ‘A concept analysis of health literacy,’ In Nursing forum, vol. 54, no. 3, pp. 315-327.

Also check: Theoretical Foundations of Nursing Practice