Promoting an occupational perspective in public health
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BACKGROUND: Although the value of occupation for health and well-being is fundamental to the occupational therapy profession, this view is not well recognized in the field of public health. PURPOSE: In this article, we argue that occupational therapists have a unique and valuable perspective to bring to the field of public health, particularly with respect to the importance of occupational engagement in promoting the health and well-being of Canadians. KEY ISSUES: There are many compelling reasons for public health advocacy, including the need to increase awareness of the health benefits and risks of occupational engagement for individuals and communities. Challenges that lie ahead, however, include issues related to terminology, the complexity of occupation, the need to consider multidimensional outcomes, and diversity of evidence. IMPLICATIONS: To move forward, the profession of occupational therapy in Canada needs to position health promotion messaging in a way that clearly captures the complexity and value of occupation and resonates with Canadians of all ages and abilities.
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