Health Promotion and Disease Prevention: Logically Different Conceptions? [Book Review]

Health Care Analysis 18 (4):323-341 (2010)
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The terms “health promotion” and “disease prevention” refer to professional activities. But a “health promoter” has also come to denote a profession, with an alternative agenda compared to that of traditional public health work, work that by some is seen to be too medically oriented, too reliant upon prevention, risk-elimination and health-care. But is there really a sharp distinction between these activities and professions? The main aim of the paper is to investigate if these concepts are logically different, or if they are just two extremes of one dimension. The central concepts, health promotion and disease prevention, are defined, and it is concluded that health promotion and disease prevention are logically distinct concepts, although they are conceptually related through a causal connection. Thus, logically, it is possible to promote health without preventing disease, even if this is not so common, in practice, but it is not possible to prevent disease without promoting health. Finally, most health promoting interventions target basic health, not manifest health, and often also thereby reduce future disease



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