Health awareness campaigns give us the momentum to make positive changes Posted by Justine Clarabut on 31 July, 2018

Awareness days accentuate vital information around key health issues giving us the momentum to make lifestyle changes.

An awareness day, week or month is for the most part related to health issues and engages individuals and groups of people in important health information, helping to understand key health issues!  By communicating a specific message that raises awareness of a wide variety of illnesses encourages us to not only become aware but to also take action.  Health awareness campaigns also set the agenda for public debate about a health topic thereby changing opinions that surround it.

The ultimate aim of a health awareness campaign is to encourage behavioural change!  By learning more about a disease or illness and understanding the steps that can be taken to prevent it gives people the knowledge and confidence to make positive and lasting lifestyle changes.

So how do we know that these health awareness days work – are they really effective?

Over a period of 5 years (2009 to 2014), lead researcher John W Ayers, San Diego State University Graduate School of Public Health and a team of public health and computer science experts studied the impact of the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout day – an awareness day encouraging people to stop smoking.  They analysed news coverage and tweets about smoking cessation and the number of people seeking resources to help quit smoking on Google and Wikipedia.   Their findings showed that compared to an average day, the Great American Smokeout typically coincided with a 61% increase in news reports on smoking cessation and a 13% spike in the number of tweets encouraging people to quit smoking.  They also found that Google searches such as ‘help quit smoking’ typically increased by 25% and visits to the Wikipedia page on smoking cessation rose by 22% as well as calls to quitlines that increased by 42%!

Keeping you aware..

There are many websites and social media campaigns that you can follow to access awareness campaigns but Wellbeing People’s new product, Wellbeing Station, does just that – it notifies you daily of what health awareness day, week and month is current!  This creates the foundation to promote discussion around health and wellbeing and discover ways that certain illnesses can be prevented.  Discussion, listening to other’s experiences and opinions is far more productive than an instruction that tells us not to do something!  Wellbeing Station is also a great tool for individuals to interact and engage in wellbeing questions, factoids and thought provoking quotes of the day.

There are many things that organisations can do to promote health awareness campaigns that coincide with the calender dates – join in with Charity campaigns that raise awareness and money, such as Wear it Red for British Heart Foundation and Wear it Pink for breast cancer.  Create your own health awareness days with a health fair or event for example; promote Diabetes Week or Cholesterol Awareness Month with blood glucose and cholesterol screening or get your employees active with Smoothie Bikes to promote National Fitness Day!  Engaging employees in their own health and wellbeing increases productivity and decreases sickness absence.

National and International Days

And we mustn’t forget the many national and international days too that take place each year which help to raise awareness usually around non-health related issues – humanitarian, cultural, social and political!