Relevance of Health Behavior Research to Public Health Professionals

  • David R. Buchanan


Public health has historically viewed health and disease as the product of three interacting factors: the host, the agent, and the environment. As classically captured in Hippocrates’ Airs, Waters, Places, the major emphasis of public health interventions until modern times was focused on changing the environment to prevent illness: building sewage systems, assuring clean water supplies, draining swamps. In one of the best-known legends of public health, a medical practitioner and anesthetist named John Snow plotted the locations of an outbreak of cholera cases in London in the year 1854 (Rosen, 1958). On the basis of his scatterplot, he deduced that one well, the Broad Street pump, was responsible for the outbreak. He then marched down and removed the handle from the pump, thus interrupting further spread of the epidemic—an effective environmental intervention enacted 30 years before the discovery of bacterial agents.


Social Support Healthy People Social Marketing Public Health Professional Resiliency Factor 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • David R. Buchanan
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Public Health and Health SciencesUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstUSA

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