Health Promotion

By Nidhi Mahagaokar, MPH | Last Updated: March 15, 2021

Image by: Brett Dashevsky

What is Health Promotion?  

Health Promotion is the process of enabling people to increase control over and to improve their health. Health promotion focuses on the root causes of illness and disease and considers a wide range of social and environmental perspectives.

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Key Takeaways

  • Health promotion is more relevant than ever before as we globally accept that health is drastically affected by social, economic and political forces.

  • Although health promotion and health education are used interchangeably, health promotion has a much broader perspective and moves beyond focusing on individual behavior. 

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Three Key Elements of Health Promotion

  • Good Governance for Health

    1. Is health a central focus of government policy? Are legislators factoring health implications into their decisions?

  • Health Literacy

    1. Are individuals equipped with the knowledge and skills to make informed decisions about their health?

  • Healthy Cities

    1. Are cities promoting preventive and primary care as key influencers of health? 

Health Promotion In Action

Health Promotion has been used to address the following diseases in a culturally relevant and appropriate manner:

  • Changing dietary habits in Finland to reduce cardiovascular disease

  • Malaria education to increase the use of  Insecticide-treated-bed-nets in Thailand

  • Increasing physical activity to decrease Type II Diabetes in Canada

The Big Picture

Health promotion focuses on societal construction, is rooted in the idea of individual power and seeks to answer the question: how does the organization of our society impact our health behaviors as we navigate various systems?

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Outside the Huddle

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Reviewed by Geetika Rao, MPH | Edited by Jared Dashevsky, M.Eng. | Fact checked by Julia Radossich, PA-C