Health

Public health

Public health is “the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organised efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals.” It is concerned with threats to the overall health of a community based on population health analysis. The population in question can be as small as a handful of people or as large as all the inhabitants of several continents (for instance, in the case of a pandemic). Public health has many sub-fields, but is typically divided into the categories of epidemiology, biostatistics and health services. Environmental, social and behavioral health, and occupational health, are also important fields in public health.

The focus of public health intervention is to prevent rather than treat a disease through surveillance of cases and the promotion of healthy behaviors. In addition to these activities, in many cases treating a disease can be vital to preventing it in others, such as during an outbreak of an infectious disease. Vaccination programs and distribution of condoms are examples of public health measures.

Role of science in health

Health science is the branch of science focused on health, and it includes many subdisciplines. There are two approaches to health science: the study and research of the human body and health-related issues to understand how humans (and animals) function, and the application of that knowledge to improve health and to prevent and cure diseases.

Where health knowledge comes from

Health research builds primarily on the basic sciences of biology, chemistry, and physics as well as a variety of multidisciplinary fields (for example medical sociology). Some of the other primarily research-oriented fields that make exceptionally significant contributions to health science are biochemistry, epidemiology, and genetics.

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[edit] Putting health knowledge to use

Applied health sciences also endeavor to better understand health, but in addition they try to directly improve it. Some of these are: biomedical engineering, biotechnology, nursing, nutrition, pharmacology, pharmacy, public health (see below), psychology, physical therapy, and medicine. The provision of services to maintain or improve people’s health is referred to as health care.

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