Geographical Health Education for knowing and preventing risk factors

Cristiano Pesaresi

Abstract


In this contribution the importance of a geographical health education perspective is underlined, and the need to promote a widespread and shared sensitization on this topic has led to introduce, with this number of J-Reading, a new type of feature focused to the related aspects. Particularly, in the present work, first of all the potential add value of harmonic and coordinated health education actions, finalized to translate the findings of scientific research for the social usefulness, is underlined, also concentrating the attention on the necessity of avoiding uncorrected behaviors which can predispose to specific diseases and disorders. Secondly, a reflection is provided about the leading causes of death and risk factors, highlighting the differences among geographical areas and countries on the basis of some indicators which continue to show notable inequalities and reveals facets and problematic conditions of many contexts with delay of development, above all in Sub-Saharan Africa. Heavy continue to be the unbalances in basic maternal and children health services and too feeble the system to face communicable diseases, often easily preventable and treatable, even if some encouraging achievements have been recorded in the last years. Thirdly, the attention is dedicated on the health risk factors and noncommunicable diseases in the developed countries and a focus is provided on the European Union countries. The use of tobacco, the abuse of alcohol, an unbalanced diet and physical inactivity (which together contribute to overweight and obesity) here are remarkable risk factors for chronic diseases, but their incidence could be easily reduced encouraging and supporting at school and at educational level adequate programmes, “best buys” and supplementary interventions for assuming better behavior. Some perspectives for geographical health education are finally discussed considering the potentialities of geotechnologies, WebGIS and open source GIS, specific app and services, story maps and digital storytelling.

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