Sunday, June 05, 2005

Health education doesn't work

Sometimes there are clusters of news items on separate but related topics. Here's an example from Stuff's health stories.No doubt, in the wake of these damning headlines, there will be calls from the government's legions of health educators for a bigger preventative health budget to fund a redoubling of their educational efforts. But the message I'm getting is that health education doesn't work, so the preventative health budget should be slashed, not increased.

Of course, further research is needed to determine whether public health education is ineffective, or just expensive. But the onus of proof lies not with the long-suffering taxpayer who is forced to pay for these educational forays but with the health educators.

For years now, cigarette packets have been adorned with big black-lettered labels saying that "Smoking Kills". You can't get much straighter to the point than that. Yet 25% of the adult population continue to smoke. If the message isn't getting through, isn't it time to give up?


At 1:55 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, public health education is successful, it can take time as it is often generational. But, all the evidence and studies have shown that people take on board these messages and slowly their behaviour changes to match (eg. drink driving is a good example, as is slip,slop,slap in Australia). But I suppose as a libertarian, you'd just prefer to assume that any endeavour by the government doesn't work. The price of liberty is actually people like libertarians.

At 10:54 am, Blogger Blair Anderson said...

evidentialy it is the identified double standards "impediments to health promotion"

see health select committee report 1998 at

When this government (and any future one) complies with its Ottowa Charter undertaking to remove such impediments then health policy is corrupted.

Given the currency of United Future's family values contraining this debate to one of prejudice and obsfucation (leading to tyranny of the minority) any wonder we get non-participation in the youth demograph.


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