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What is Health Promotion?

Health promotion has been defined by the World Health Organization's (WHO) 2005 Bangkok Charter for Health Promotion in a Globalized World as "the process of enabling people to increase control over their health and its determinants, and thereby improve their health". The primary means of health promotion occur through developing healthy public policy that addresses the prerequisites of health such as income, housing, food security, employment, and quality working conditions. More recent work has used the term Health in All Policies to refer to the actions to incorporate health into all public policies. There is a tendency among public health officials and governments—and this is especially the case in neoliberal nations such as Canada and the USA—to reduce health promotion to health education and social marketing focused on changing behavioral risk factors.

Government agencies in the U.S. concerned with health promotion include:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a Coordinating Center for Health Promotion who mission is "Prevent disease, improve health, and enhance human potential through evidence based interventions and research in maternal and child health, chronic disease, disabilities, genomics, and hereditary disorders".
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has developed Total Worker Health, a strategy incorporating elements of occupational safety and health and health promotion, to advance the health and well-being of employees
The United States Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine "provides worldwide technical support for implementing preventive medicine, public health, and health promotion/wellness services into all aspects of America's Army and the Army Community".
Nongovernmental organizations in the U.S. concerned with health promotion include:
The Public Health Education and Health Promotion Section is an active component of the American Public Health Association.
The Wellness Council of America is an industry trade group that supports workplace health promotion programs.
URAC accredits comprehensive wellness programs "that focus on health promotion, chronic disease prevention and health risk reduction".

 

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