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Popular Education for Health Promotion and Community Empowerment: A Review of the Literature
Health Promotion International (2011)
  • Noelle Wiggins, Portland State University
Abstract
While there is now general agreement that the most effective way to promote health and decrease health inequities is by creating more just economic, social and political conditions, there is much less agreement about concrete ways in which public health practitioners can work with communities to address inequities such as poverty, racism and powerlessness. Practical strategies are desperately needed. Popular education, also known as Freirian and empowerment education, has been used successfully to create more equitable conditions around the world for >50 years. Its use to improve health has been documented in the public health literature since the early 1980s. Nonetheless, it remains largely unknown and its potential unrealized in mainstream public health circles in the industrialized world. In order to explore the potential of popular education as a tool to address inequities and improve health, a systematic review of the peer-reviewed international literature was conducted. Findings revealed that popular education is an effective method for enhancing empowerment and improving health. However, the existing literature does not provide empirical evidence that popular education is more effective than traditional education at increasing health knowledge and empowerment and changing health behavior. In order to fully understand the potential of popular education as a tool to eliminate health inequities and to advocate effectively for its use, further studies are needed that utilize mixed methods, participatory approaches and experimental or quasi-experimental designs.
Disciplines
Publication Date
2011
Citation Information
Noelle Wiggins. "Popular Education for Health Promotion and Community Empowerment: A Review of the Literature" Health Promotion International (2011)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/noelle_wiggins/5/