people's behavior has an important impact on their health. mortality from today's leading causes of death could be markedly reduce if people would adopt a few health-protective behaviors, such as not smoking, not drinking excessively, eating healthful diets, and excercising regulary. although some people think individuals are generally consistent in their practice of health-related behaviors an these behaviors are stable over time, this idea seem to be false. these behaviors can be quite changeable over time and practicing one habits is not strongly related to practicing other habits. a person's practice of health-protective behavior that becomes well established tends to become habitual or automatically performed.
health problem can be averted through three levels of prevention, one of which applies before of disease injury occurs. each level can involve efforts by the individual and by his or her social network, physician, and other health professionals. Primary prevention consists of action taken to avoid illness or injur. it can include public service annoucements, genetic counseling, and wide variety of health behaviors, such as using seat belts and performing breast or testicular self-examinations. secondary prevention involves actions taken to identify and stop or reserve a health problem. It includes tests and treatments health professional may conduct, as well as illness and sick-role behaviors, such as visiting a physician when ill and taking medication as prescribed. tertiary prevention consist of action taken to contain or retard damage from a serious injury or advanced disease, prevent disability, and rehabilitate the patient.
people acquire health-related behaviors through modeling and through operant conditioning, whereby behavior changes because of its concequences: reinforcement, extinction, and punishment. other determinants of these behaviors include genetic, social, emotional, and cognitive factors. errors in people's perceived symptoms and ideas they have about illnesses can lead to health roblems. people's thinking about health and illness not always logical, and often they are unrealistically optimistic about their health.
Some theories focus on the role of health beliefs to account for people's performance of health related-behavior. The health belief model proposes that people take preventive action on basic of their assessments of the threat of health problem. Assessing the pros and cons of the action involves weighing its perceived benefits and barriers. These assessments combine to determine the likelihood of preventive action. The theory of reasoned action proposes that people's health-related behaviors are determined by their intentions, which are a function of their attitudes regarding the behaviors (for example, "is it a good thing to do?") and their subjective norm. The stages of change model emphasizes people's readiness to modify their behavior, and other approaches include and emphasis on the role of stress (conflict theory) and on the role of personal control. Social action theory health-related behavior within a system framework.
People's age, sex, and sociocultural background also effect health-related behavior and need to be considered in programs for health promotion. Method for promoting health include fear-arusing warnings, providing information, and behavioral approaches. Programs for health promotion can be effective in the school and in the worksites. Communitywide wellness programs are designed to reach large numbers of people and improve their knowledge and practice of preventive behavior. The three community study demonstrated that media campaigns cam promote health, and subsequent research has also integrated extensive efforts by community organizations toward improving people's preventive actions, such as in stemming the spread of AIDS.