Overview of health promotion

Health promotion has evolved internationally over the past three decades; the concept reflects the changes in thinking about the root causes of health and wellness. These changes have been accompanied by new approaches and principles to improve the health of communities and individuals.

The Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion says health promotion is:

The process of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve, their health.  To reach a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing, an individual or group must be able to identify and to realise aspirations, to satisfy needs, and to change or cope with the environment.  Health is, therefore, seen as a resource for everyday life, not the objective of living.  Health is a positive concept emphasising social and personal resources as well as physical capacities.  Therefore, health promotion is not just the responsibility of the health sector, but goes beyond healthy lifestyles to wellbeing.