Advertisement

Health Care Analysis

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 203–221 | Cite as

Health Promotion or Disease Prevention: A Real Difference for Public Health Practice?

  • Per-Anders TenglandEmail author
Original Article

Abstract

It appears that there are two distinct practices within public health, namely health promotion and disease prevention, leading to different goals. But does the distinction hold? Can we promote health without preventing disease, and vice versa? The aim of the paper is to answer these questions. First, the central concepts are defined and the logical relations between them are spelt out. A preliminary conclusion is that there is a logical difference between health and disease, which makes health promotion and disease prevention two distinct endeavours. However, since disease is defined in relation to health, as those kinds of internal processes and states that typically lead to ill health, the difference is smaller than it might appear. Second, in order to answer the practical question whether it is possible to promote health without preventing disease, and vice versa, several kinds of public health interventions are discussed. The conclusion is that while health promotion and disease prevention can be distinguished conceptually, they can hardly be distinguished in practice. Most general measures do both at the same time.

Keywords

Basic health Disease prevention Health promotion Interventions Manifest health Public health 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank Lennart Nordenfelt, Bengt Brülde, Glenn Laverack, Karin Dahlbäck, the anonymous reviewer, and the participants of “the higher seminar” at IHS, Linköping university, Sweden, for valuable comments on earlier versions of this paper.

References

  1. 1.
    About.com:Sports Medicine. (2008) http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/injuryprevention/a/Ex_Immunity.htm 2008-11-07.
  2. 2.
    Abrahamson, L., Andersson, A., Becker, W., & Nilsson, G. (Eds.). (2006). Näringslära: För högkolan [Nutrition: For the University]. Stockholm: Liber.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Beaglehole, R., & Bonita, R. (2004). Public health at the crossroads: Achievements and prospects. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Brülde, B., & Tengland, P.-A. (2003). Hälsa och Sjukdom: En begreppslig utredning [Health and illness: A conceptual investigation]. Lund: Studentlitteratur.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bryan, J., Calvaresi, E., & Hughes, D. (2001). Foods for thinking and memory. Food Australia, 53, 477–479.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Buchanan, D. (2000). An ethic for health promotion: Rethinking the sources of human well-being. Oxford: Oxford UP.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
  8. 8.
    Culver, C. M., & Gert, B. (1982). Philosophy in medicine. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Davies, M., & Macdowall, W. (2006). Health promotion theory. Maidenhead: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Earle, S., Lloyd, C. E., Sidell, M., & Spurr, S. (2007). Theory and research in promoting public health. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Ellis, J. M., & Reddy, P. (2002). Effects of Panax ginseng on quality of life. The Annals of Pharmacotherapy, 36, 375–379.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Garfinkel, D., Laudon, M., Nof, D., & Zisapel, N. (1995). Improvement of sleep quality in elderly people by controlled-release melatonin. Lancet, 346, 541–544.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Holland, S. (2007). Public health ethics. Malden, MA: Polity.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Hummel, T., & Nordin, S. (2008). Quality of life in olfactory dysfunction. http://www.senseofsmell.org/feature/whitepaper/whitepaper_print.html 2008-11-08.
  15. 15.
    Korp, P. (2004). Hälsopromotion [Health promotion]. Lund: Studentlitteratur.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Lalonde, M. (1974). A new perspective on the health of Canadians. Ottawa: Information Canada.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Laverack, G. (2004). Health promotion practice. Power and empowerment. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Lindstrand, A., Bergström, S., Rosling, H., Rubenson, B., Stenson, B., & Tylleskär, T. (2006). Global health: An introductory textbook. Lund: Studentlitteratur.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    MacDonald, T. (1998). Rethinking health promotion: A global approach. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
  21. 21.
    McKeown, T. (1979). The role of medicine. Oxford: Routledge.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    NCI (National Cancer Institute). (2008). http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/screening/overview 2008-11-09.
  23. 23.
    NNII (National Network for Immunization Information). (2008). http://www.immunizationinfo.org/immunization_issues_detail.cfv?id=140 2008-11-09.
  24. 24.
    Nordenfelt, L. (1991). Towards a theory of health promotion: A logical analysis. Linköping: Linköping University Press.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Nordenfelt, L. (1995). On the nature of health: An action-theoretic approach. Dordrecht: Kluwer. Second revised edition.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Nordenfelt, N. (1998). On medicine and other kinds of health enhancement. Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy, 1, 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Nutbeam, D (1998). Health Promotion Glossary. WHO/HPR/HEP/98/1. (See also: http://www.who.int/hpr/NPH/docs/hp_glossary_en.pdf) (on behalf of the WHO).
  28. 28.
    Pellmer, K., & Wramner, B. (2002). Grundläggande folkhälsovetenskap [Basic public health]. Stockholm: Liber.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Raeburn, J., & Rootman, I. (1998). People-centered health promotion. Chichester: Wiley.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Rose, G. (2008). Rose’s strategy of preventive medicine. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Seedhouse, D. (1997). Health promotion: Philosophy, prejudice and practice. Chichester: Wiley.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Svanström, L. (2003). Sjukdomslära [Pathology]. Lund: Studentlitteratur.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Tengland, P.-A. (2006). The goals of health work: Quality of life, health and welfare. Philosophy, Medicine and Health Care: A European Journal, 9(2), 155–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Tengland, P.-A. (2007). A two-dimensional theory of health. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics, 28(4), 257–284.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Tengland, P.-A. (2008). Empowerment: A conceptual discussion. Health Care Analysis, 16(2), 77–96.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Tengland, P-A. (2009). Health promotion and disease prevention: Logically different conceptions? Health Care Analysis. doi: 10.1007/s10728-009-0125-0.
  37. 37.
    Tones, K., & Green, J. (2004). Health promotion: Planning and strategies. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    WHO. (1986). Ottawa charter for health promotion. Geneva: WHO.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    WHO. (1990). Some options for improving nutrition in the 1990s. http://www.unsystem.org/scn/archives/scnnews07supplement/begin.htm#Contents 2008-11-09.
  40. 40.
    Willemse, B. W., Postma, D. S., Timens, W., & ten Hacken, N. H. (2004). The impact of smoking cessation on respiratory symptoms, lung function, airway hyperresponsiveness and inflammation. The European Respiratory Journal, 23, 464–476.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Health and SocietyMalmö UniversityMalmöSweden

Personalised recommendations