What is health promotion?
Health promotion is "the process of enabling people to increase control over and improve their health” The World Health Organization
Health promotion helps us understand all the influences on our health, and how our individual choices and societal circumstances connect.
Those who support health promotion work in many places, including schools, workplaces, and community health services. They may work with and for individuals, communities or even society as a whole.
What are some examples of health promotion?
To help people increase control over and improve their health, those who support health promotion need to be able to:
Demonstrate knowledge necessary for conducting health promotion
For example, apply a determinants of health framework to an analysis of chronic disease prevention.
Plan appropriate health promotion programs
For example, plan a community garden with partners in a diverse inner-city neighbourhood.
Contribute to policy development.
For example, work in coalitions to advocate for changes to social assistance rates.
Conduct a community needs assessment for a specific issue.
For example, scan and map networks to plan for a community-wide forum on obesity.
Engage in partnerships and collaboration.
For example, collaborate with city planners and public health units to plan community walking trails.
Communicate effectively with community members and other professionals.
For example, use new media technology such as blogs, webinars, wikis and podcasts to plan and promote a breastfeeding campaign.
Organize, implement and manage health promotion interventions.
For example, develop a stay-in-school initiative for at-risk youth.
In Canada, there are many options for higher education studies in health promotion, including programs at community colleges, universities, graduate level degrees and distance education.
There are also opportunities to learn about health promotion on the Internet. One of the most comprehensive online sources is HP 101 Health Promotion Online Course, developed by the former Ontario Health Promotion Resource System.
Where can you go for more information?
Health Nexus Resources
Ontario Health Promotion E-Bulletin, a weekly electronic news and resources bulletin, produced by Health Nexus and Public Health Ontario, offers a valuable, summarized information exchange among Ontario health promotion supporters.
Le Bloc-Notes is a monthly French language health promotion bulletin which offers select information exchange among francophone health promotion supporters in the province and beyond.
Centres for health promotion across Canada and around the world offer workshops, seminars and other resources:
- Global Health Promotion Consortium, University of Toronto
- Centre for Health Promotion, Public Health Agency of Canada
- National Collaborating Centre for Healthy Public Policy
- Health Promotion Clearinghouse, Nova Scotia
- Atlantic Health Promotion Resource Centre, Dalhousie University
- WHO Health Promotion site