Health is regarded as a resource, and as such it can be improved or worsened by external factors like the condition of living or the quality of the environment, and personal factors such as habits, activities or lifestyles.
According to madame Valérie Siroux, the environment people live in has a great impact on people’s health. Whether it is healthy for us or not has a slow but long-term effect on the quality of our lives. Therefore, a logical approach for public health would be to go from prevention, namely by reducing environmental damages and by educating the idea that one needs to protect oneself from the negative environmental impacts, to identification of the causes with professionals if any health issue arises. The involvement of the patients and their relatives in the treatment process is, thus, proposed and further emphasized.
Different determinants of health, according to madame Mondane Jactat, can be placed in different layers. In the outermost layer lie the socioeconomic, cultural and environmental dimensions. Going one layer into the core is the people’s working and living conditions. At the core is one’s own support network and community. Other important factors that determine personal health come from within, such as our lifestyle (smoking, sport, etc.), physical state, and demographics (age and gender). As such, in order to improve personal health on a large scale, mass education that is categorized for different people of different circumstances may prove more efficient.
Professor Muriel Blaisse believes that alimentation is another important indicator of health. It is now rare to hear people speaking about eating positively. It has now become a responsibility and a task to do rather than a joy of life. As more and more countries are dependent on imported foods, the scarcity of land resources is at its all-time high and even ever-increasing, one is now finding the need to be able to provide for themselves organic goods as the most economical solution to tackle the problem.
One of the discussion facilitators reminded that each food product can be assessed by three standards: hygiene, the nutrients that fulfill human body’s need, and taste. Consequently, personalized research that is put into food and nutrients may be necessary before frequent consumption.
Madame Claire Perrin spoke about the importance of physical exercises and activities. According to her studies, 23% of adults and 81% adolescents around the world does not practice any sport, even if a simple jogging activity for 30 min per day. Physical inactivity is a leading cause for death. As a result, campaigns to raise awareness of the matter should still be pushed further to the public, even if in the form of propaganda.
Professor Julien Masson concluded the plenary by saying that protecting the environment, actively doing physical exercises, and eating well are three activities to be integrated into the educational curriculum all levels and across the globe.
Additions from the audience members highlighted that in order to maintain a decent degree of health, one ought to be concerned about the air in which one breathes, the quality of one’s sleep, one’s mental health, and one’s financial means for good and healthy food, where Professor Muriel Blaisse put forth a slogan to illustrate her previous point: Grow food yourself for a healthier and more economical food option.