The World Health Organisation states that ‘the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being’. Nobody would argue with that. But all rights come with responsibilities, and health is no exception. The responsibilities we each have towards our own health, and the moral basis for those responsibilities, is the subject of a new study from the International Self-Care Foundation.
Through self-care an individual can remain healthier into their later years, can prevent or delay ‘lifestyle’ diseases, and maintain mental health. Reasons enough to self-care! But in addition there is a moral imperative that we each have to keep healthy through self-care, based on responsibilities to others – to other users of public health services, and to future generations. People who do not lead healthy lifestyles are more likely to consume a larger share of always-scarce healthcare budgets. On this basis it is therefore reasonable for society to look for ways to encourage people to look after themselves, for themselves – and to accept that they have responsibilities as well as rights to health and healthcare.
The study, entitled ‘The responsibilities of the healthy’ is published by our partner organisation SelfCare Journal and may be viewed here: http://www.selfcarejournal.com