Health awareness days: Sufficient evidence to support the craze?

Jonathan Purtle, Leah A. Roman

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


Health awareness initiatives are a ubiquitous intervention strategy. Nearly 200 health awareness days, weeks, and months are on the US National Health Observances calendar, and more than 145 awareness day bills have been introduced in Congress since 2005. We contend that health awareness days are not held to appropriate scrutiny given the scale at which they have been embraced and are misaligned with research on the social determinants of health and the tenets of ecological models of health promotion. We examined health awareness days from a critical public health perspective and offer empirically supported recommendations to advance the intervention strategy. If left unchecked, health awareness days may do little more than reinforce ideologies of individual responsibility and the false notion that adverse health outcomes are simply the product of misinformed behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1061-1065
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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