Health Watch
  • International Self-Care Day or ISD is observed on July 24 annually to make people aware on how important it is to practice “self- care” to preserve wellness and to prevent lifestyle diseases.
  • Self-care is the basis of healthcare and is the aspect of taking care of health outside the formal health and social care system
  • Practicing healthy lifestyle habits and being rational about what is right and what is bad for health are some aspects of self-care

Since 2011, International Self-Care Day (ISD) is observed every year on 24 July. The day provides a focus and opportunity to raise the profile of 'healthy lifestyle' self-care programs around the world.

The International Self-Care Foundation started recognizing ISD to encourage self-care as a vital foundation of health. It provides a media-friendly forum and a focus for individuals or groups to promote self-care by themselves in their organization or community.
International Self-Care Day is 24 July - ‘Feel Good, 7/24’

What is 'Healthy Lifestyle' Self-Care?

The 1998 definition of the World Health Organization is:

"Self-Care is what people do for themselves to establish and maintain health, and to prevent and deal with illness. It is a broad concept encompassing hygiene (general and personal), nutrition (type and quality of food eaten), lifestyle (sporting activities, leisure etc), environmental factors (living conditions, social habits, etc.) socio-economic factors (income level, cultural beliefs, etc.) and self-medication."

But actually, self-care means different things to different people and the International Self-care Foundation (ISCF) does have different definitions that emphasize different aspects or elements of self-care. Hence they have proposed a framework for self-care to be conveniently visualised and organised around seven 'pillars' or 'domains':

1. Knowledge & Health literacy - The capacity that individuals have to obtain, process and understand the necessary health information and services needed so as to make appropriate health decisions

2. Mental wellbeing, Self-awareness & Agency - The individual is in a state of complete physical and psychological wellbeing; they can personally and practically apply the knowledge they have about health to their health situation; they can take action about their health based on the knowledge they have

3. Physical activity - Practicing moderate to intensity aerobic physical activity according to their age

4. Healthy eating - Having a nutritious, balanced diet covering all categories in the food pyramid with appropriate levels of calorie intake

5. Risk avoidance or mitigation - Avoiding risky behaviors like smoking and not wearing a seatbelt / helmet, and all other actions that can directly increase the risk of disease or death

6. Good hygiene - Practicing washing hands regularly, brushing teeth, and washing food, actions that help maintain health and prevent the spread of diseases

7. Rational and responsible use of products, services, diagnostics, and medicines- Safely and effectively managing health by taking appropriate medications and products

This July 24th, ISCF requests all groups and organizations to undertake public health programs linked to ISD and to provide them with a summary report of the programs, for future reference and potential deployment in other countries.

The ISD Date - July 24, 2018

The International Self-Care Day, 24 July, is observed to help people realize that the benefits of self-care are to be experienced life-long (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) and are not just related to a single day. It is observed to provide a proper focus and opportunity to announce all matters of self-care through action programs. It can be any observed day like for example in 2014 for practical convenience all the organizing events were held on the third Sunday of July.

The theme for International Self-Care Day 24 July 2018 is 'Feel Good, 7/24'.

Many countries (geographically as far apart as Brazil, China, Mexico, Myanmar, Nepal, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland, the United States and Vietnam) have adopted the ISD since 2011 and have organized self-care programs, some of them spilling over an entire week like in the UK and Canada.

There have been events that focus on youth (a poster design competition, mob flash dance or a concert), seniors (community involvement programs, physical examination programs), the general public (public lectures, sponsored public walks, football and golf matches, tai chi classes), occupational health, pharmacy, research, and the media.

The ultimate aim of ISCF is that the United Nations should formally recognize ISD as an official commemorative day; that would further increase participation.

As much as self-care is needed for preserving the wellness of healthy people and preventing an epidemic of lifestyle disease, it is also about how essential it is for people with an existing disease condition to take care of themselves, also sometimes referred to as 'self-management' of the condition.

Self-care is supposedly the first treatment response that people adopt for everyday health conditions and common ailments. An estimated 70% to 95% of all illnesses are being managed around the world without seeing a doctor. Self-care skills under pillar 1 (health literacy) and pillar 2 (self-awareness) are therefore essential to help people realize when to consult a healthcare professional.

Self-care is, therefore, the fundamental level of health care in all societies and should be seen as a significant public health resource. It is often unrecognized and not so appreciated; hence let's spread the message about self-care on International self-care day on July 24!

References :
  1. International Self-care Day - (
  2. What is Self-care Day - (
  3. International Self-care Day - July 24 - (

Source: Medindia

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