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October 21-25: National Health Education Week

There is a classic parable in the Health Education world that is often used to demonstrate the importance of prevention.  There are several variations on the story, but essentially it boils down to this:

rapid river

The other day, I was enjoying a walk along a beautiful river.  Suddenly, I heard a panicked shout for help.  Looking into the swiftly moving water of the river, I saw a man, drowning.  I leapt into action, diving into the cold water, struggling against the current to reach the man.  I fought hard and was able to pull the man to the shore.  I began delivering rescue breaths, and after a minute or two, the man came to.  Shivering and soaking wet, I began to help the man into a sitting position, when I heard another cry for help from the river.  Feeling fatigued, I dove back into the water and rescued this next person, fighting the current once again to get her to shore, where I was able to revive her as well.  Once again, as soon as she was revived, I heard another two cries for help from the river.  Near exhaustion now, it occurred to me that I was so busy jumping in the river and saving these people, I didn’t have any time to see who was upstream pushing them all in.

The parable demonstrates the importance and benefits of prevention work like health education.  In today’s world, we have greater access to health information than ever before.  Despite all this access to information, our healthcare costs are still skyrocketing, particularly around preventable conditions and diseases.  Health education is important, because it is more than simply having access to this information, it is putting information into practice.

For more information about National Health Education Week, please visit: https://www.sophe.org/nhew.cfm

For more information about disease prevention, please visit: http://www.hhs.gov/safety/



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