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What is Consumer Health?

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  • Written By: Marlene Garcia
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 27 September 2016
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Consumer health is a state of well-being enjoyed by people who buy products and use services that research deems safe. Most governments try to protect this state by offering disease prevention information and warnings about products and services that pose a risk to public health. The health of consumers represents more than freedom from disease; it protects physical, social, and mental wellness and aims to prevent illness.

Governmental health agencies typically offer advice to promote a healthy population. They provide information about disease prevention and the latest research available. These agencies commonly employ researchers and scientists, and work with universities and laboratories to discover modern methods of prolonging life expectancy and improving overall health.

One major function of these agencies ensures that health information is readily available to the public. They typically communicate with health professionals, educators, scientists, and the public to make health and safety news widely available. Consumer health organizations use the media, the Internet, and newsletters to raise awareness on important health topics and educate the public about preventative medicine.

Efforts to protect the public also center on food, drug, and product safety. Consumer health information might warn the public about tainted food or drugs, and provide a method of filing a complaint against a product or service. Information is typically available on everything from products that emit radiation to dietary supplements and cosmetics.

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Making consumers aware of chronic and infectious diseases helps prevent their spread and can improve prevention and treatment possible. When the public knows about genetic, lifestyle, and environmental risks that cause disease, people might be better equipped to prevent disorders like heart disease and cancer. For example, research linking tobacco to cancer may result in lifestyle changes that save lives.

Infectious disease control represents another area that protects the public from the spread of contagious illnesses. Public health agencies promote the development of new vaccines, tests, and therapies to treat diseases that once posed a serious health risk, such as measles, chickenpox, and influenza. Research led to vaccinations that protect citizens from the spread of these conditions and enhance consumer health.

Information is commonly available to promote wellness at every stage of life, from before birth to an advanced age. Public health organizations routinely offer prenatal advice to pregnant women to increase the chance their babies are born healthy. Health topics might also focus on children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly.

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SauteePan
Post 4

@Comfyshoes - I agree but at least the tobacco companies are reducing their advertising campaigns and the warning labels on cigarette packages are a lot more prominent now. There are also a not of anti smoking advertisements that build awareness to the problem.

I also wanted to say that a lot of pharmaceutical companies offer free or reduced price vaccines for people in third world countries that normally would not have access to these drugs. I know that the Novartis consumer health division developed a vaccine for malaria that was origninally supplied to people in Africa.

I read that the drug was Coartem and it is now available in over sixty countries. I really think that it is great when companies like this reach out and try to help those in countries where there is no access to life saving drugs like this.

comfyshoes
Post 3

@Bhutan - That is true. What always amazed me is how the FDA approved the sale of tobacco products. This is a product that will cause cancer and other illness. It is a certainty. Not only that, but many people also develop emphysema as well as asthma.

My mother in law grew up in the 50’s and both of her parents were smokers. She never smoked a cigarette in her life, but she developed asthma due to the second hand smoke that she would inhale when her father would smoke a cigar and her mother would smoke a cigarette with the windows closed in the car.

There are so many drugs that are pulled off market that have done less damage than tobacco products have and I just don’t understand why they are still legal. I know that the tobacco lobby is very powerful, but smoking adversely affects millions of people every day.

Bhutan
Post 2

@BrickBack - I have to say that I love that most places have removed trans fats from their foods, but I also wanted to add that sometimes these consumer health reports can be contradictory. For example, I read about a study that said that coffee could cause heart problems, yet in another study they were promoting coffee drinking because they said that it lowered the risk of developing Alzheimer and dementia.

Sometimes people can overact to a governmental study. Years ago they found that in some studies rats developed thyroid cancer when they were fed soft drinks with saccharin. People were then afraid of drinking diet drinks with saccharin but the truth is that these rats were fed such high

concentrations of saccharin that there is no way possible for a human being to ingest that much in a lifetime much less in a single sitting.

I think that eating and drinking a variety of food in moderation is fine. I try not to worry too much about these studies.

BrickBack
Post 1

I think consumer health reports are important and the more information we receive with respects to consumer health education the better. I remember when the there was a lot of press about Trans fats and how dangerous they were to your heart.

As a result, a lot of food manufacturers dropped the Trans fats and many fast food restaurants did as well. Before this, people were not familiar with Tran’s fats and did not know about the potential dangers, but once people realized its dangers they demanded that changes be made which is really a good thing.

I know for example, in New York City they have banned Trans fats altogether, and in both New York and California

restaurants they are required to tell you the nutritional information of the food served along with its calories.

This will really influence what you eat. The other day, I was going to order a Cobb salad and did not realize that it had 800 calories. I was in shock. But it also helps me learn more about healthy eating which is really important.

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