In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Health Promotion

  • Introduction
  • Introductory Works
  • Reference Works
  • Textbooks
  • Anthologies
  • Bibliographies
  • Journals
  • History
  • Definitions
  • Evidence-Based Practice and “Best Practice” Guidelines
  • Disparities and Specific Populations
  • Research Methods and Theories

Related Articles Expand or collapse the "related articles" sectionabout

Forthcoming Articles Expand or collapse the "forthcoming articles" section


Public Health Health Promotion
Lawrence W. Green
  • LAST REVIEWED: 23 February 2011
  • LAST MODIFIED: 23 February 2011
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756797-0004


While the scope and definition of health promotion continues to evolve, international consensus has settled on some essential elements of this new emphasis in public health. These include educational, environmental, and organizational supports to enable people to gain greater control over the determinants of their health. This entry identifies resources that pertain to the definition, development, and implementation of health promotion. Health-promotion programs are established at the micro and macro levels of society, from organizational and community initiatives to worldwide campaigns. Health promotion in developing nations has increasingly shifted from predominantly emphasizing communicable-disease control to giving increasing attention to chronic-disease prevention, with death and disease caused by tobacco use and obesity leading the way.

Introductory Works

There are few introductions for the casual reader or the broader field of public-health professionals and health scientists to health promotion generally. Buchanan 2000 focuses on ethics, while Young and Hayes 2002 offers a postmodern emphasis directed at health promotion practiced in nursing. Others take a historical period or a specific country or health issue as their focus. For example, O’Neill, et al. 2007 and Pederson, et al. 1994 provide snapshots of Canada’s efforts and experiences with health promotion in two distinct decades, the first in which Canada was held up internationally as the leading country in blazing the trail for this new field, the second of which exhibits much frustration with the barriers to implementation of the earlier ideals and expectations.

  • Buchanan, David R. 2000. An ethic for health promotion: Rethinking the sources of human well-being. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

    Challenges the means and ends sought in health promotion as related to achieving human well-being. The epidemiological transition from communicable diseases with a focus on controlling the agent shifted to controlling the host (people’s behavior), with the new focus on chronic diseases. Advocates redefining well-being in terms of integrity.

  • O’Neill, Michael, Ann Pederson, Sophie Dupéré, and Irving Rootman. 2007. Health promotion in Canada: Critical perspectives. 2d ed. Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press.

    In the early 21st century, health promotion in Canada declined in the face of a “population health” initiative that characterized health promotion as too “individualistic,” somewhat as health promotion during its ascendancy had characterized health education. This book tells that story while also pushing the boundaries of thinking on health promotion’s place in Canada and Canada’s international influence. Also in French: La promotion de la santé au Canada et au Québec: perspectives critiques (Quebec: Presses de l’Université Laval, 2007).

  • Pederson, Ann, Michele O’Neill, and Irving Rootman. 1994. Health promotion in Canada: Provincial, national and international perspectives. Toronto: W. B. Saunders Canada.

    This first edition reflects the hopes and mounting momentum of an international movement launched in Canada with the 1974 Lalonde Report (Lalonde 1974, cited under History) and the 1986 Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion (World Health Organization 1986, cited under History). This edition takes a historical and sociological approach to understanding the social, political, and economic context in which health promotion took shape.

  • Young, Lynne E., and Virginia E. Hayes, eds. 2002. Transforming health promotion practice: Concepts, issues, and applications. Philadelphia: F. A. Davis.

    Directed particularly at health promotion practiced in nursing, this book takes a postmodern approach to the broader need, in the authors’ and some of the contributors’ views, for an interdisciplinary health promotion that increases patients’ or clients’ control over their health and their lives.

back to top

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.

How to Subscribe

Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.