Leaders from around the world, met this past month at theWorld Health Organization (WHO) to lay out plans for financing new global health goal: to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Discussions included health care disparities between and amongst countries. The WHO has endorsed Universal Health Care with the goal of minimizing such imbalances.
One goal of the WHO has been to increase taxation on tobacco products. Currently thirty three countries utilize a tobacco tax. According to the WHO, countries not utilizing this tax may be depriving themselves of a means to generate more funding for health care and promoting general population health.
We as physical therapists can be key players in the medical field in promoting well being at all ages and also living by the goals of the WHO. As physical therapists we hold the key to setting a positive example for those we interact with on a daily basis inside or outside of the clinic. Something as simple as exercising good judgment in how we care for our bodies can be educational for those around us.
So how can we contribute to the goals of WHO? As physical therapists, we have more time with our patients than many health care providers. Perhaps we use strategies like motivational interviewing to help encourage positive lifestyle changes. Educating our clients and peers about food choices can serve as prevention to many systemic diseases such as diabetes or morbid obesity. Exercising regularly and educating those about safe principles of exercise can serve a role in establishing wellness goals and injury avoidance or prevention of cardiovascular diseases. We can educate those on the risks of smoking, wearing a helmet or seat belt, etc. Or perhaps we volunteer our services and educate those in a medically under served area.
With World Physical Therapy Day just around the corner on September 8, this would be a great time to utilize our skills or plan an event to promote our profession and how we can work towards wellness goals within our local communities and beyond.