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Promoting Healthy Behavior / Edition 1

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Overview

The government, the media, HMOs, and individual Americans have all embraced programs to promote disease prevention. Yet obesity is up, excersize is down, teenagers continue to smoke, and sexually transmitted disease is rampant. Why? These intriguing essays examine the ethical an social problems that create subtle obstacles to changing American's unhealthy behavior.

The book contains no figures.

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Editorial Reviews

Michael J. Cholbi
This collection of original essays arose from a two-year collaborative research project on the ethical and social dilemmas of health promotion and disease prevention. The contributors, a diverse group of ethicists and health policy professionals, seek to "examine the ethical and social problems that create subtle obstacles to changing Americans' unhealthy behavior." Social scientists and philosophy of medicine researchers are the intended audience. The essays are useful in bridging abstract discussions of healthcare justice with case studies of the effectiveness and costs of particular efforts at health promotion. Most contributors apply moral or political analysis to empirical findings about the success or failure of health promotion and disease prevention initiatives. Among the topics addressed: the threat posed to civil liberties and to the physician-patient relationship by health promotion initiatives; the ways in which managed care companies, employers, and governments incentivize healthy behavior in individuals; the sociological and political limitations of purely behavioral approaches to health promotion that emphasize personal responsibility; the often contradictory values pursued in public health; and the implications that our rapidly increasingly knowledge of genetics will have for debates about who is responsible for individuals' health. There are two main drawbacks in this publication. First, the collection would have benefited from greater pluralism -- nearly all of the contributors reject libertarian or market-oriented approaches to promoting healthy behavior in favor of more interventionist, 'communitarian' alternatives that focus on collective responsibility. Thedangers of this latter alternative are hardly addressed. Second, those seeking hard-headed moral argument may well be disappointed; opposing positions are brushed off too easily and the contributors' own views are presented rather programmatically. Nonetheless, these essays should prove useful to humanists, social scientists, and public health professionals in search of novel insights into the ethical perils and practical deficiencies of current efforts to encourage healthy behavior.
From The Critics
Reviewer:Michael J. Cholbi, PhD(Brooklyn College (CUNY))
Description:This collection of original essays arose from a two-year collaborative research project on the ethical and social dilemmas of health promotion and disease prevention.
Purpose:The contributors, a diverse group of ethicists and health policy professionals, seek to "examine the ethical and social problems that create subtle obstacles to changing Americans' unhealthy behavior."
Audience:Social scientists and philosophy of medicine researchers are the intended audience.
Features:The essays are useful in bridging abstract discussions of healthcare justice with case studies of the effectiveness and costs of particular efforts at health promotion. Most contributors apply moral or political analysis to empirical findings about the success or failure of health promotion and disease prevention initiatives. Among the topics addressed: the threat posed to civil liberties and to the physician-patient relationship by health promotion initiatives; the ways in which managed care companies, employers, and governments incentivize healthy behavior in individuals; the sociological and political limitations of purely behavioral approaches to health promotion that emphasize personal responsibility; the often contradictory values pursued in public health; and the implications that our rapidly increasingly knowledge of genetics will have for debates about who is responsible for individuals' health.
Assessment:There are two main drawbacks in this publication. First, the collection would have benefited from greater pluralism — nearly all of thecontributors reject libertarian or market-oriented approaches to promoting healthy behavior in favor of more interventionist, "communitarian" alternatives that focus on collective responsibility. The dangers of this latter alternative are hardly addressed. Second, those seeking hard-headed moral argument may well be disappointed; opposing positions are brushed off too easily and the contributors' own views are presented rather programmatically. Nonetheless, these essays should prove useful to humanists, social scientists, and public health professionals in search of novel insights into the ethical perils and practical deficiencies of current efforts to encourage healthy behavior.
Booknews
North American scholars of health and ethics raise questions about the role of the state and employers in trying to change health related behavior, such as diet, exercise, and safe sexual practices, and whether or not these efforts are either beneficial (for health or economic reasons), or ethical. Throughout the book the idea of the ambivalence of Americans regarding public health programs is discussed. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

3 Stars from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780878408535
  • Publisher: Georgetown University Press
  • Publication date: 6/18/2001
  • Series: Hastings Center Studies in Ethics
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 0.46 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction
Personal Responsibility for Health: Contexts and Controversies 1
Health Promotion and Civil Liberties: The Price of Freedoms and the Price of Health 23
The Credibility of Claims for the Economic Benefits of Health Promotion 37
Sticks and Carrots and Baseball Bats: Economic and Other Incentives to Modify Health Behavior 56
Health Promotion and the Common Good: Reflections on the Politics of Need 76
Health Promotion and the Common Good: Toward a Politics of Practice 95
The Promise of Molecular Medicine in Preventing Disease: Examining the Burden of Genetic Risk 116
Freedom, Healthism, and Health Promotion: Finding the Right Balance 138
Promoting Health and Preventing Disease: Ethical Demands and Social Challenges 153
Contributors 171
Index 173
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