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[K-Wellness] Korea Health Promotion Institute promotes lifelong health

KHEPI builds health promotion infrastructure from birth to the 100th birthday

By Korea Herald

Published : Dec. 19, 2022 - 10:20

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Korea Health Promotion Institute Director Cho Hyun-jang Korea Health Promotion Institute Director Cho Hyun-jang

The Korea Health Promotion Institute (KHEPI) is the only government agency in the health care field that plans, implements, and evaluates policies and projects designed to promote healthy lives.

KHEPI provides health management services tailored to each life cycle. The agency has built a finely meshed management system to help people quit smoking and abstain from drinking, prevent obesity, promote physical activities, ensure smart health care through new digital technologies and provide health care services for infants and pregnant women.

The early life health management pilot project enables professionals to visit families and offer tailored services for pregnant women and infants under the age of 2. The health care playground project is designed to prevent childhood obesity through elementary schools or local children’s centers. The program provides education to create a healthy lifestyle, such as play-type nutrition education and physical activity programs. As a result, obese and overweight children decreased by 2.8 percent in 2021, and children who exercised for at least one hour after participating in the project increased by 6.9 percent.

The elderly health care pilot project is designed to provide online health care services to senior citizens in communities with inadequate medical access through digital technology based on artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things. The project plans to improve access through AI speakers with a display to allow senior citizens without a smartphone to take part.

Even before the outbreak of COVID-19, KHEPI had established an online service management system for local health centers since 2016. In 2021, mobile health care services for children and adolescents were further developed to provide non-face-to-face health care services through collaboration with local health centers and schools.

In particular, it is at the forefront of informing the public about the health risks of drinking and smoking. Streaming service content available on YouTube and Netflix is in a regulatory blind spot as it is subject to the Information and Communications Network Act, not the Broadcasting Act, despite its high usage rates.

KHEPI found that upon monitoring 11 streaming service dramas and 20 movies with college student supporters, movies showed the most frequent exposure of drinking and smoking scenes. The smoking scenes were broadcast without being blurred out.

KHEPI continues to spread self-regulation recommendations for smoking scenes in media content and to discuss issuing warnings for videos containing any smoking scenes. Next year, it will hold a meeting with streaming service providers to recommend setting an age limit for certain content, labeling warnings against excessive drinking and complying with the guidelines.

From the second half of this year, it plans to launch a cooperative system construction project to facilitate the overseas entry of health care services, together with the Ministry of Health and Welfare and six other relevant organizations for the benefit of international cooperation. This project is designed to share Korea's health care achievements with less developed countries and to lay the groundwork for the health care industry to branch out into overseas markets. Currently, under the mission of improving the quality of health care in 10 Association of Southeast Nations countries, its goal is to build a sustainable health cooperation system with ASEAN.

For its 10th anniversary last year, KHEPI developed a new brand by incorporating changes in the internal and external environment, the institution's role and adopting a clear identity. KHEPI’s various projects designed to promote health were included as national projects of the new government, creating momentum to further reinforce and develop the agency's functions and roles.

“As a professional institution responsible for the lifelong health of the people, we will build a society where everyone is healthy through our innovative health promotion projects,” said KHEPI Director Cho Hyun-jang.

By Yang Jung-won (7toy@heraldcorp.com)