Health education and promotion | Behavioural risk factors

Behavioural risk factors

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Health promotion is defined as “the process of enabling people to increase control over and to improve their health”. Health promotion focuses on physical, mental and social well-being not merely disease or infirmity in line with the definition of health in the WHO Constitution (1). Application of the concept of health promotion and education requires actions on both risk behaviourbut also the risk linked to living conditions of people. The more health literate people are the more they are able to protect their health.

Behavioural studies are necessary to understand the predisposition of individuals towards certain risks factors and should be the basis for developing health promotion and education interventions.

In addition to enhancing health literacy, it is important that individuals live in environments conducive to health and that this healthy environment is supported by healthy public policies that reduce exposure to risks.

In order to identify behavioural risk factors, the WHO Regional Office, in collaboration with WHO headquarters and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, is implementing a Global School Health Survey.

The work on reducing risks will focus on actions to:

  • reduce physical inactivity
  • regulate exposure to marketing of food and nonalcoholic beverages to children
  • promote a healthy diet.

 (1)  "Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." (WHO Constitution).