REVIEW – May 2016

The status of health promotion in modern society

Authors: Moonika Viigimäe, Andrus Lipand, Pille Javed, Sandra Mägi, Kaire Vals

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Health promotion, disease prevention and health protection are the three independent branches of the public health sector. Health promotion began to gain acceptance worldwide after launching the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion at the first international health promotion conference in Canada 1986. In the declaration, health promotion was defined as the process of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve, their health. The salutogenetic paradigm in health promotion suggests that instead of focusing on illness and disease there should be a focus on what promotes wellness. Health promotion focuses on the socio-economic factors that determine human behaviour and draws attention to social and environmental interventions. The challenges facing the field of health promotion in today’s world are the following: explaining the context of health promotion to the public, searching for solutions to reduce inequalities in health, combating threats to health in a globalized world, and evaluating of the effectiveness of activities. The health promotion specialist is a public health worker – a planner, empowerer, coordinator and promoter of health promotion activities – who has received special training.