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A public health intervention is an effort that promotes behaviour that improves mental and physical health, or discourages or reframes those with health risks, as part of a public health promotion program.
Healthy behaviour includes daily physical exercise, balanced nutrition, meditation or prayer, regulated sleep, safe sex practices, and the development of sense of responsibility.
Unhealthy behaviour includes overemphasis on immediate gratification such as overindulgence in eating, smoking, drinking alcohol, consuming recreational drugs, and avoiding behaviours such as anonymous sex with multiple partners, indulgence in damaging emotional states (sadness, rage, jealousy), or gambling or reckless spending.
Perhaps the most important health intervention[according to whom?] is to encourage at-risk subjects to develop a viable theory of mind that supersedes authoritarian structures and consciously considers the health of behaviour.
Health interventions may be run by a variety of organizations, including health departments and private organizations. Such interventions can operate at various scales.
The whole population can be reached via websites, audio/video messages and other mass media.
Individual intervention can involve counselling sessions or efforts to persuade key influencers to modify a patient's environment, for example by encouraging parents to enforce children's bedtime. Interventions involving family and friends can encourage people with self-destructive behaviours or addictions to accept help.
Specific groups can be affected by administrative action such as increasing the provision of healthy food at schools.
- Bartholomew, L. K., Parcel, G. S., Kok, G., Gottlieb, N. H., & Fernández, M.E., 2011. Planning health promotion programs; an Intervention Mapping approach, 3rd Ed. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.