The Concepts and Precepts of Health Public Health Global Health and Population Health
Healthcare Delivery in the United States
Over the years, the United States has learned invaluable lessons about keeping the country healthy and restoring health when illness strikes. The nation desires to create an opportunity for “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” as stated in the second sentence of the nation’s declaration of independence (Knickman & Elbel, 2018).
Most people would agree that health is a vital part of life and that nothing is important or achievable without it. As a result, scholars have delved into deeper concepts of health to generate a new pipeline of ideas for improving people’s health. This thus heralds the concepts of public, global, and population health, of which a nuanced discussion is provided below.
Definitions of Health, Public Health, Global Health, and Population Health
The definition of health has evolved tremendously over the years. Formerly, health simply meant the absence of a physical illness. However, due to the definition’s inadequacy, as most scholars believed it did not encompass the entire spectrum of health, the World Health Organization, in its constitution, defined health as a state of physical, mental, and social well-being rather than simply the absence of disease (Otorkpa, 2022).
The problem with defining health as the presence or absence of a disease is that it only objectively describes a person; however, health is a resource for daily life, not just an objective of living.
According to the WHO, multiple factors, among them physical, social, and emotional, have an impact on an individual’s health. Access to clean water, food, safe housing, clean air, roads, gender, and genetics are examples of physical factors, while social factors include, but are not limited to, income, education, and social support networks such as family and friends (Otorkpa, 2022). On the other hand, emotional or mental factors include the ability to deal with stress, learn new skills, and maintain relationships, all of which contribute to resilient and self-sufficient living.
The perception of public health varies, but a common understanding is that it is a science and art of preventing disease, extending life, and promoting health through a well-coordinated societal effort. Public health is heavily influenced by medical science and philosophy, and it aims to manipulate the environment for the benefit of the general public (Knickman & Elbel, 2018; WHO, 2020).
Public health interventions to promote and prolong life and prevent disease are aimed at a larger population. Examples include vaccinations for children under the age of five and health campaigns, such as those to prevent smoking among adolescents.
Global health, on the other hand, refers to an area of study, research, and practice focused on improving health and achieving health equity for all people worldwide (Holst, 2020). In a different view, global health is a health issue that transcends national boundaries and governments and necessitates global collective action (Holst, 2020).
Collective transnational research and action for promoting health for all is a summative definition that includes all of the concepts proposed. As a result, it is critical to recognize that global health interventions must be massive to reach people all over the world.
In the realms of healthcare and the pedagogy of health concepts and precepts, population health is also an important topic. According to Knickman and Elbel (2018) and Silberberg et al. (2019), population health is the health outcomes of a group of people, including the distribution of those outcomes within the group.
Knickman and Elbel (2018) focus on the social, physical, environmental, genetic, and behavioral factors influencing population health. Differences in the composition of one’s social and physical environments, as well as genetics and behaviors, are the reasons why one population may have or be predisposed to a specific illness, whereas another population has the least predisposition to the same disease.
Similarities and Differences
The semantic affinity of the concepts described above may be confusing and give an erroneous impression of similarity. While they are similar in semantics and definitions, the concepts differ. First, the definitions of the concepts demonstrate that health is multifactorial and is more than just the absence of disease. This is evidenced by the WHO’s definition of health, supported by definitions of public health, population health, and global health, which include multiple interventions to prevent diseases and prolong life.
The second similarity is that all of the concepts emphasize preventive rather than curative interventions. This parallel is consistent with the third sustainable development goal 3 (SDG 3), which calls for attaining good health and well-being (Cerf, 2019). As a result, the world focuses its efforts on disease prevention rather than disease treatment once they occur.
The third similarity is that all of the aforementioned health concepts require collective action. Because health is a multifaceted issue, it takes a team effort to implement public health, global health, and population health strategies to prevent illness and promote healthy living.
The main distinction between the health concepts described is the level at which interventions are required. For example, while population health strategies may be effective at the local community level, global health strategies must be transnational to impact people worldwide.
The Population of Interest, and the Public and Global Health Issues Affecting it
Adolescence is a vulnerable stage of development due to rapid growth in physical, emotional, and sexual areas. My population of interest is the adolescent population, defined as the period of life between childhood and adulthood, spanning the ages of 10 to 19 (WHO, 2022).
In 2019, there were nearly 42 million adolescents in the United States, accounting for 12.8% of the total population (Office of Population Affairs, 2022). This population is afflicted with a variety of conditions and is at a higher risk of engaging in risky health behaviors. Adolescent obesity, smoking, and access to care are the three public and global health issues I chose for this group.
According to the CDC (2020), 3.2% of adolescents aged 12-17 are in fair or poor health. Between 2017 and 2018, the percentage of adolescents aged 12-19 years who were obese was 21.2% (CDC, 2020). The CDC also estimates that 5.6 million of today’s Americans under the age of 18 will die from a smoking-related illness and that this age group has the highest rate of smoking initiation, with 9 out of 10 adults who smoke cigarettes daily starting smoking by the age of 18. (CDC, 2022).
97% of 12- to 17-year-olds have a regular source of care, while 5.8% of the same age group do not have health insurance (CDC, 2020). Due to the consequences of adolescent obesity, smoking, and disparities in healthcare access, public and global health strategies are critical to promote health and prevent illnesses in the population.
Health is a vibrant core of life, and its detriment has a significant impact on an individual’s ability to function. To bolster its health system and protect its citizens from illnesses, the United States has gone deeper into developing effective healthcare delivery systems and policies in line with its prayer of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as stated in the second sentence of the nation’s declaration of independence.
To achieve the contrivances, scholars discern subtleties that exist between public health, global health, and population health to determine the most appropriate specific strategies to employ for each dimension. However, it is clear that to achieve public, global, and population health outcomes, multiple collective actions and preventive measures must be implemented. This, in relation to the adolescent population, will aid in the prevention of illnesses and health-risky behaviors such as smoking.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, March 4). Adolescent health. Cdc.gov. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/adolescent-health.htm
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, April 14). Youth and tobacco use. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/youth_data/tobacco_use/index.htm
Cerf, M. E. (2019). Sustainable development goal integration, interdependence, and implementation: The environment-economic-health nexus and universal health coverage. Global Challenges (Hoboken, NJ), 3(9), 1900021. https://doi.org/10.1002/gch2.201900021
Holst, J. (2020). Global Health – emergence, hegemonic trends and biomedical reductionism. Globalization and Health, 16(1), 42. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12992-020-00573-4
Knickman, J. R., & Elbel, B. (Eds.). (2018). Jonas & kovner’s health care delivery in the United States. Springer Publishing Company. https://doi.org/10.1891/9780826172730
Office of Population Affiairs. (2022). America’s diverse adolescents. Hhs.gov. https://opa.hhs.gov/adolescent-health/adolescent-health-facts/americas-diverse-adolescents
Otorkpa. (2022, June 1). World Health Organization(WHO) definition of health. Public Health. https://www.publichealth.com.ng/world-health-organizationwho-definition-of-health/
Silberberg, M., Martinez-Bianchi, V., & Lyn, M. J. (2019). What is population health? Primary Care, 46(4), 475–484. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pop.2019.07.001
World Health Organization. (2020, August 7). WHO definition of Public Health. Public Health. https://www.publichealth.com.ng/who-definition-of-public-health/
World Health Organization. (2022). Adolescent health. Who.int. https://www.who.int/health-topics/adolescent-health