Health promotion is the process of addressing inequalities and enabling people to increase control over, and to improve, their health. It moves beyond a focus on individual behaviour towards a wide range of cross-cutting social and environmental interventions.

Components of public health promotion include:


  • Gender, socio-economic status, age, ethnicity, disability, minority groups, geographical location.
  • Includes progressive universalism at policy level and for structural and systems approaches.
  • Targeting of high-risk populations.

Environmental determinants:

  • Reduce risk and promote healthy environments for the following areas: air, soil, food, water, sanitation, housing, noise, transport, rural and built environments, occupational health, and chemical, environmental, biological and radiation hazards.
  • Emphasise co-benefits of climate change (link to climate change, sustainability and environmental health in health protection).

Social and economic determinants:

  • Work with other sectors to reduce risk factors and develop health-enhancing environments, including across education, work, communities, non-governmental organisations, the private sector and local governments.
  • At national level, target policies that reduce poverty and inequalities in income, and that build social assets, networks and capital.

Resilience: detect and address poor mental health and abuse early and develop emotional literacy skills to develop resilience, for example:

  • Strengthen parenting skills, early treatment of ante-natal and post-natal depression, school-based emotional literacy, and violence and abuse prevention programmes.
  • Community programmes for community resilience; alcohol and violence prevention; work-based mental health promotion programmes; volunteering and social participation for older people.

Behaviour and health literacy: develop individual skills and integrated community centred approaches to address risk factors and promote positive health behaviours, and support national policy and legislation, including in the following areas: tobacco, alcohol, drugs, sexual health, physical activity, injury prevention, healthy eating and oral health.

Life course: tailor approaches across the life course – including pre-natal, early years and maternal health, adolescence, adult and older years – reflecting demographic trends

Healthy settings: develop integrated approaches for different settings, including hospitals and healthcare settings, towns and cities, communities, prisons, schools and workplaces.

To go back to the systems framework for healthy policy, please click here…. Systems framework