Health Education

There are many different ways we learn about our health and how to improve it – in school, through health appointments, on the news, on the internet, through advertising campaigns and from each other.

Educating and informing people about health is hugely important when trying to improve the health of individuals and communities. Knowing more about how different things affect your health can help you weigh up the pros and cons of what you do and make better choices.

Sometimes it can be difficult to make sense of news stories about health. The headlines are written to grab your attention - but they don't always represent the whole story. It is best to try and have a balanced view of health news stories. NHS Choices has a service that looks at the evidence behind news stories to try and give us an idea of what the stories are actually telling us, and whether it is likely to make a difference to our health.

For example a drug that has been found to make a small difference to cancer cells in mice will be a long way from being used with humans, it is in the early stages of research. A study that has looked at 12 olympic athletes might not have the same results as one that looked at thousands of people in the general population. A study that has been funded by a company that makes the drug they are studying might not do well balanced research.

Behind the Headlines and Health Unlocked are good places to find out about and discuss issues with this in mind.

If you want to read more on health topics you could visit your local library for information - they can also help you get online if you don't have internet access at home.

Through Health Education we aim to make long term changes in health culture – changing people’s behaviour, the practice of health professionals and the policies of national and local government to work towards improving everyone’s health and healthy opportunities.

The four main aims of health education are shown in the diagram below: