Ecological theory and health belief theory

Compare and contrast two theories used for program planning. Which theory best
supports your program and planning project? Why?

The “ecological theory and health belief theory” are commonly applied theories in public
health program planning. The two theories share similarities and differ remarkably. The two
theories attribute health to multiple factors. The ecological theory attributes health to several
factors within personal, interpersonal, organizational, and community dimensions (Atkins,
Rusch, Mehta, & Lakind, 2016). Similarly, the health belief models attributes health of a given
population to the perceived susceptibility to an illness, the probable benefits perceived and the
barriers against taking preventive actions (Skinner, Tiro, & Champion, 2015).
The two theories differ considerably. The ecological theory attributes health to physical
and social-cultural factors whereas the health belief model attributes health to personal
perception of various elements of diseases (Atkins et al., 2016; Skinner et al., 2015). The
ecological theory describes the prevention against disease in terms of the personal knowledge,
attitudes and skills, interaction with other people in the community, rules, regulations and
policies that restrain or promote good health and federal and state laws that regulate public health
functions (Atkins et al., 2016). The health belief model attributes health strictly to factors that
affect an individual’s perception of susceptibility to disease, potential benefits, and barriers to
take action (Skinner et al., 2015).
The ecological theory is appropriate for my public health program. My public health
program is about obesity among the Hispanics living in Texas. The program discusses the risk
factors to obesity among the Hispanics, as determined by the cultural, federal, state and local

PUB 620 2
policies on obesity. The ecological theory appreciates the role played by cultural factors such as
food in disease development (Atkins et al., 2016). The theory also appreciates the existing laws
and policies in the prevention or development of an illness (Atkins et al., 2016). My public
health program discusses the relationship between food among the Hispanics and the high
prevalence of obesity. The project describes the existing guidelines on physical exercise and
nutrition, as provided by federal and state government agencies.

PUB 620 3


Atkins, M. S., Rusch, D., Mehta, T. G., & Lakind, D. (2016). The theory of ecology and public
health in research. Journal of Public Health, 45(2), 215-226.
Skinner, C. S., Tiro, J., & Champion, V. L. (2015). The health belief model. Journal of
Behavioral Health: practice and research, 75.