What Can You Do With A Health Promotion Degree?

Health promotion aims to enrich the health of individuals through awareness in environmental factors, education, and behavior. Health promotion can be described as a way to positively guide the psychological, environmental, biological, and physical health of individuals and communities. Health promotion can include behavior, skills, attitudes, and health knowledge. By being educated on this topic, individuals can help prevent disease and increase their quality of life through behavior changes. Through education and prevention, individuals may reduce financial costs for themselves, employers, and what insurance companies might spend for medical treatment.

Individuals working in the health field may be responsible to administer the following tasks: construct social marketing and mass media campaigns, organize community action, conduct research for scholarly articles, and assess, develop and implement health education programs. Workers may also be responsible for writing grants and advocating for community needs.

Those considering earning a degree in health promotion should be interested in issues in fitness and wellness and the health of others. They should want to advocate for healthy living and come up with creative ideas for healthy lifestyle changes. A career in promoting healthy living could include helping individuals manage and treat stress, physical inactivity, substance and alcohol abuse, insufficient nutrition, and unsafe sexual activity. In this field, workers may be responsible for offering behavior change suggestions, and setting realistic goals for their clients, and following up on medical screenings and appointments. Students may be suited for careers in hospital programs, fitness programs, government and nonprofit health agencies, hospitals, and schools. Those with a degree in health promotion may also be qualified to be a personal health coach, work in a health and wellness center, or in a pregnancy facility or program.

Promoting health goes a step beyond health education by requiring intensive-specific study. Students may take classes in stress management, anatomy and physiology, and health management. Those in this field may be employed through schools by teaching a health class, or working in health services to promote a healthy lifestyle for students. Colleges may hire individuals with a degree in health promotion to teach a course, promote community organizing, or train peers in disease prevention. Individuals deciding to pursue a health degree may take foundational courses such as nutrition, psychology, biology, and statistics. Through studying health education and promotion, participants should be able to help other improve their own wellness in order to live a longer and more satisfying life.


Expanding Your Business Horizons – Worksite Health Promotion

As a fitness professional you have the ability to apply your knowledge and experiences in a variety of settings to help increase your revenue. One such area you can apply yourself is in the corporate fitness setting with worksite health promotion.

Businesses everywhere have been feeling the squeeze as health care costs have risen over the past several years. According to an article published on CNN’s Money website, “Over the past decade, the annual cost of family coverage has risen 131% and the annual cost for single coverage is up 120%” (website article “Family health costs jump 5%). As a result, they are looking for ways to save money. Sometimes it involves screening out potential job applicants that are not healthy, or finding reasons to fire a current employee that is unfit. An alternative method to help combat the rising health care costs is worksite health promotion.

In short, worksite health promotion is “the combination of educational, organizational, and environmental activates and programs designed to motivate and support healthy lifestyles among a company’s employees and their families” (Worksite Health Promotion, pg. 5). How does this benefit you as a fitness professional? Well with a little bit of knowledge in worksite health promotion, you can approach local businesses to see if they would be interested in your services.

There are several steps involved in creating and implementing a health promotion program for a given business. They include:

*Identification and Assessment – The first step is to meet with the company to get an idea of the specific type of program(s) they will need (smoking cessation, diabetes education, etc) Part of this can involve speaking with the employees, sending out simple health surveys via email they can respond to, etc. In addition you will want to evaluate the employees in terms of what types of programs they feel would work best. Would they prefer payment assistance at a local gym, be motivated by receiving a reward for reaching their goals, etc.

*Planning the programs – This step includes goal setting, budget setting, figuring out how the program(s) will be implemented, who will run it, and how long it will take before results are apparent. This stage at times also includes proposal creation as you may need to present your information to the company to see if they give it a final okay.

*Program implementation – If you make it past the proposal, you will be in the green to implement your health promotion program.

*Program Evaluation – Your program should be evaluated on a regular basis. This way if you find the current program is not living up to expectations, you can immediately revamp it. If not, the company could feel you are wasting their money, and stop giving some of it to you.

In a way worksite health promotion is not a static system. You may find after you have evaluated the program (the last step) that you need to go back to step one and re-identify and re-assess the employee’s. Or you may find that you have to go back to the program planning stage to re-create some of the employee’s goals. Worksite health promotion is definitely an ever-changing system.