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Child public health part 3: promoting healthy childhood

02 October 2020
Volume 12 · Issue 10


Child health promotion focuses on individuals and communities adopting healthy behaviours. This article, the third part of four on child public health, explores health promotion strategy and theory, as well as the areas in which paramedics can contribute to improving their own health promotion beyond the clinical setting.

The previous two articles in this short four-part series introduced the notion of child public health, and prevention strategies in improving the health status of children, mitigating the consequences of disease. The position of paramedics within the community places them in an ideal situation to connect with children and their families as one of the first intervening health professionals, and with those that are hard to reach and disengaged from other scheduled health services. This offers the chance for a paramedic to give health promotion advice to those likely to be reaching out, for example regarding smoking cessation, healthy eating, or advice on medication adherence such as the importance of regularly taking insulin.

Indeed, paramedics in both prehospital and primary care settings should be familiar with the Make Every Contact Count campaign (Public Health England (PHE), 2016), where any patient encounter provides an opportunity for clinicians to assess, signpost and encourage individuals to adopt healthy behaviours that reduce the risk of long-term diseases. The Make Every Contact Count campaign is an example of health promotion, that in effect, encourages and empowers individuals, communities and populations to adopt a positive, healthy lifestyle (Blair et al, 2010). Although this sounds like a simple concept, there can be conflict between the community and individual level, resulting in inequality and disempowerment. Examples specific to paramedics include:

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