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Introduction

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Transforming society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience.

APTA Vision Statement8

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Physical therapists have long been advocates for prevention, health, and wellness. They not only work with patients in a rehabilitation environment, but they also have opportunity to work with clients to improve fitness, wellness, and overall health.6,38 Their roles include education, direct intervention, research, advocacy, and collaborative consultation, as well as identification of risk factors and provision of services to mitigate those risks,7 thus helping individuals bridge the gap between illness and wellness. Physical therapists and physical therapist assistants also work within their communities to influence and advocate for adapting environments to promote healthy lifestyles for all. In these ways, they can achieve the profession's vision of "transforming society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience."8

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Key Terms and Concepts

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Health. "A state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."84 "A state of being associated with freedom from disease, injury, and illness that also includes a positive component (wellness) that is associated with a quality of life and positive well-being."4

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Wellness. "A state of being that incorporates all facets and dimensions of human existence, including physical health, emotional health, spirituality, and social connectivity."4 "An active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence."48

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Health literacy. "The degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions."70

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Health promotion. "Any effort taken to allow an individual, group, or community to achieve awareness of—and empowerment to pursue—prevention and wellness."4

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Public health. "The practice of preventing disease and promoting good health by providing the resources and creating environments that help people stay healthy."9

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Health-related quality of life. "A broad multidimensional concept that usually includes self-reported measures of physical and mental health."16

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Well-being. "A positive outcome that is meaningful for people and for many sectors of society, because it tells us that people perceive that their lives are going well."19

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Fitness and physical activity. Refer to Chapter 7.

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Chronic Disease, Prevention, and Health Care

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Noncommunicable chronic diseases are primary causes of death and illness in the United States, with chronic diseases accounting for 7 of the top 10 causes of death.34,83 The top four chronic conditions in terms of mortality include cardiovascular disease, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic diseases account for about two-thirds of deaths globally.18

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Chronic Conditions Related to Behaviors

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Chronic conditions are often attributable to ...

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