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Health Philosophy Statement

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A. My philosophy of health is: all people should have adequate access to healthy food choices. In low-income communities, access to healthy food choices are very limited because of little or no presence of chain grocery stores (Larson, 2009, p. 75). B. The type of health philosophy is Empowerment Philosophy. This philosophy will help to alleviate the problem of inadequate access to healthy food choices in lowincome communities due to the absence of chain grocery stores, as it will involve the people that live in the community to help advocate for more chain grocery stores. C. The focus of the philosophy are low-income communities, and the focus is on reducing the propensity for obesity of the residents in low-income communities. Principles A. The main points of the Empowerment Philosophy are enabling the members of the community to empower themselves, coordinating members of the community because they share the same problem, making the job of the health educator clear, having community discussions aided by the health educator. 1. The first point of the philosophy is: to make the members of the community feel empowered to change the access to healthy food in their community (TaiSeale, 2001). As a health educator, I would make sure that the members have the power to change their circumstances in regards to access to healthy food. As a health educator, I would assist the members of the community to advocate for more chain grocery stores in their community.

Health Philosophy

Parker 2

2. As a health educator, I would assemble the members of the community because they share the same problem of limited access to healthy food choices (Tai-Seale, 2001). 3. I would avail myself to the community to help them accomplish their goal of getting more chain grocery stores in their community. I would make it clear that my job was to help them work towards something that would be beneficial to all in their community (Tai-Seale, 2001). 4. As a health educator, I would facilitate discussions among the members of the community, but not lead the discussions (Tai-Seale, 2001). Explanation and Justification This philosophy of health, making sure that all people, no matter what their income is, have adequate access to healthy food is important because many health problems are linked to unhealthy diets. Health outcomes for people that have limited access to healthy food are very different compared to those that do have access to healthy food (Larson, 2009). A study conducted among people in communities with limited access to chain grocery stores and supermarkets, showed that there was a 32% increase in blacks and an 11% increase in whites of their fruit and vegetable intake with each additional chain grocery store that was available to them (Larson, 2009). This shows that if people have more access to supermarkets, they are more likely to eat more fruits and vegetables. Thus, when people have a healthier diet, they are less likely to suffer adverse health outcomes such as obesity, atherosclerosis, and diabetes. This philosophy relates to Article I: Responsibility To The Public part of the Code of Ethics for the Health Education Profession. This philosophy seeks to educate people

Health Philosophy

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on the need to have a healthy diet and the effect diet has on their health outcome. This philosophy also encourages people in the community to take action to effect change in policy in order to have adequate access to healthy food. This philosophy also relates to Article IV: Responsibility In The Delivery Of Health Education. This philosophy goes along with this part of the Code of Ethics for the Health Education Profession in that health educators would be trying to bridge the gap in the health disparities in lowincome communities by helping community members to advocate for better access to healthy food. In doing so, the health educator would be respectful and empathetic of the needs and cultural diversities of the community they are working with in this situation. Application and Contribution A. The Empowerment Philosophy has been applied in many different ways in the public health profession. One way that I know of, is the instance of members of a community in New York, coming together to get bus stops taken out of their community due to the prevalence of asthma in the children of that community. The community members came together and found a solution to a shared problem because they felt empowered to change what they didnt like and thought was detrimental to their health in their community. Conclusion A. This philosophy would promote health by making healthy food more accessible to low-income communities. If healthy food were easier to obtain in these communities, the health of community members would improve. In addition to eating healthier food, the greater accessibility to healthy food might prompt other healthy lifestyle choices in the community.

Health Philosophy

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B. In the future, using the empowerment philosophy to advocate for more grocery stores in low-income communities would eventually bridge the disparities in food access between high-income and low-income communities. This philosophy would also, in turn, bridge more health disparities between high-income people and low-income people.

Health Philosophy References

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Nicole I. Larson, PhD, MPH, RD, Mary T. Story, PhD, RD, Melissa C. Nelson, PhD, RD. (2009). Neighborhood Environments: Disparities in Access to Healthy Foods in the U.S. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 36 (1). 7481.e10. Tai-Seale, T. (2001). Understanding health empowerment. The Health Educator, 33(1), 23-29.