Q&A Session Update: Health Inequality in Communities – 19th April 2022

At the last Q&A session, we were pleased to welcome Professor Patricia Owen, former Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Keele University and the Institute of Health Promotion and Education (IHPE), to talk about health inequality and the challenges around promoting good health practices.

Through Patricia’s vast knowledge, we were able to understand what ‘being healthy’ means and the things that can have a negative effect on health, like who we are, the way we live, and what we do within our community.

Promoting health can be done in a few different ways. For example, the ‘behaviour-change approach’ is simple: encouraging others to be healthier. Whether that’s through getting the right amount of exercise, eating your ‘5-a-day’, or giving up smoking – all of these things will help you to lead a healthier life, reduce your risk of becoming ill, and generally help you to live a longer and happier life. This post from the King’s Fund on healthy behaviours is really interesting and well worth a read.

The ’educational approach’ and the ‘empowerment approach’ are the ones for us, what we’re all about, what the Community Health Champions project was created for:

  • Providing knowledge and information so people can make informed choices.
  • Helping people to identify their own concerns, empowering them to focus on their own health.

Like all public health campaigns though, health promotion does have its challenges, the biggest being health inequality. But what is health inequality? According to the King’s Fund, health inequality is “avoidable, unfair and systemic differences in health between different groups of people.” These differences include:

  • Long-term health conditions
  • Where you live and your access to healthcare services
  • Your behaviours (e.g., smoking, alcohol intake, exercise levels, etc.)
  • How much money you bring in
  • Your gender identity, ethnicity, or if you have a disability
  • Other factors include things like education, employment, access to green spaces and healthy food, and living conditions.

All of these things can have an effect on your physical and mental health, your access to urgent healthcare and GP services, and even your life expectancy.

Patricia’s presentation at this Q&A session was great and has helped us to understand health promotion better so that we can continue to reach out to our communities to promote good health practices, empowering people to make informed choices about their health and care and helping to improve the health and wellbeing of people in Stoke-on-Trent.

If you would like to see Professor Owen’s presentation, you can download it here: Community Health Champions – Health Promotion

“Health Promotion is the process of enabling people to increase control over and to improve their health. It is a positive concept emphasising personal, social, political, and institutional resources as well as physical capacities.” WHO 1990.

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