So what does it take to bridge this gap and
create a healthier world?
For starters, education. While access to formal education varies around the world, it's amazing how many people have mobile access. This access gives us the ability to reach people worldwide. At the same time, it's important to realize that education begins with one's family. Setting health standards at home lays the necessary foundation for living a healthier, longer life. Everything from nutrition to exercise to a healthy mindset needs to become part of a child's experience from a very young age. When adopted early in life, these daily routines become the benchmark for an overall healthy lifestyle.
Fostering an understanding of the importance of self-care is crucial to driving a healthier world. Teaching people to think about health is one thing. Teaching them to be healthier is quite another. Access to proper information is key.
Edutainment: Make it entertaining while educating
When we think of the education piece of the equation, no matter what the topic, we should remember that it needs to be presented colloquially and in a way that is easy to digest. Part of the solution is creating bite-sized nuggets of information while taking into consideration how they will be served up. If we look around the globe, we understand that multimedia is an effective way to help communicate and drive healthier behavior. Creating portable assets that are a form of edutainment that demonstrate and educate about health risks and health benefits is one way to go.
If you make living healthier seem fun while educating (edutainment) via video, games, contests, and the like, you will have a greater chance of driving positive behavior.
Multichannel programs for a
As Thomas Friedman of The New York Times has written repeatedly, the Internet and expanded travel have made the world "flat" economically and geopolitically. But what about in terms of health? How can the free flow of information on the internet bridge these cross-national gaps in nutrition, healthy lifestyles, and infection control?
Through the more efficient and always accessible online media channels, equal time can be shared between corporate behemoths and not-for-profit, health-conscious environmental groups. Thus a movement for health can spread widely and rapidly. Traditionally less industrialized nations have rapidly growing middle classes: According to the McKinsey Global Institute, the middle class in China numbers nearly 400 million, and in India it is over 50 million.
Analytics for a healthy world
Progress toward a healthier world must be measured by a combination of statistics, at both macro and micro levels.
Macro-level population statistics show health population trends within and across countries: Lifespan, education levels, vaccination rates, disease prevalence, and obesity are a few. Yet these trends move slowly, over years and decades.
On the micro level, online data can be gathered and assimilated daily, allowing us to gauge the spread of health-conscious movements. Twitter broadcast chains, blog readerships, and YouTube video views are all signs that can be triangulated and dashboarded, to show the effectiveness of a health movement. The government learned this when promoting the availability of flu vaccines this past fall: Online promotion and public relations spread like wildfire.
The most successful online health programs will show more than a pulse; they'll demonstrate endurance over months, and even years, evolving and engaging readers over time. This, too, can be measured.
A healthy world has to begin somewhere. Let's start with better education disseminated through multichannel points of engagement.