Social Work Paper on Health Promotion, Disease Prevention and Treatment

Factors contributing to health promotion, disease prevention/treatment

The factors that contribute to health promotion and disease prevention and treatment among older adults could be amenable to change/mutable or not. Mutable factors include personal habits and choices, especially in terms of lifestyle choices, diet choices, and levels of physical activity. Behaviors such as smoking, choices of poor diet, and a sedentary lifestyle undermine the effectiveness of health promotion and disease prevention and treatment among older adults (Carmeli & Imam, 2014). Factors that are not amenable to change include family history and genetic endowment, which generally involve the “nature” element. The genetic make-up of individuals influences the susceptibility of individuals to particular chronic conditions (diabetes, cancers, Alzheimer’s, diseases of the circulatory system, etc.) as their age advances, while the prevalence of these diseases in the family raises the possibility of an individual contracting them in his/her lifetime. Other factors that are relevant influences on the effectiveness of health promotion behavior and disease prevention and treatment are current health status and the stage in the life cycle in which the introduction of specific interventions occurs (Carmeli & Imam, 2014). The earlier the intervention occurs in the life of an older adult, the more effective it is likely to be, while the prevalence of a chronic condition prior to application of the intervention undermines its effectiveness to achieve complete prevention/treatment of disease.

Cultural preferences, values, behaviors, and belief systems

The factors above relate closely to cultural preferences, behaviors, values, and belief systems in the environments of individuals, and to which they ascribe. Culture serves as the basis of the meanings of individuals’ activities and choices, as well as their experiences in daily life. The social and cultural contexts/environments of individuals are significant in influencing their choices of diet, levels of physical exercise, and other behaviors such as smoking. Culture and its dictates, norms, and values underlie the choices, preferences, and behaviors that individuals consider as appropriate and desirable. In effect, in order to promote choices and behaviors that can promote behavior and prevent/treat disease effectively, it is essential to target the cultural environments of individuals through education and awareness campaigns. This effort would involve identifying the cultural values, behaviors, and preferences that are risky for health and encouraging individuals to resist them.

Basic principles of the Healthy People 2020 Leading Health Indicators

Healthy People 2020 is a government initiative with goals aimed at improvements in the health of all Americans. The initiative’s goals include the attainment of high-quality and longer lives that are free of injury, premature deaths, disabilities, and preventable disease, promotion of health equity and elimination of disparities, creation of health-enabling environments, and improvement of health across all the society’s groups (CDC, 2014). The basic principles of this initiative relate to the importance of a social and multi-stakeholder approach in providing an effective enabling environment to facilitate health and the value of individual responsibility and engagement in achieving health.




Carmeli, E., & Imam, B. (2014). Health promotion and disease prevention strategies in older adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Frontiers in Public Health 2(31).

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2014). Healthy People 2020. CDC Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. Retrieved from: