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

  • Introduction
  • Introductory Works
  • Journals
  • Globalization
  • Evidence of Effectiveness
  • Initiatives and Strategies
  • Diet, Physical Activity, and Obesity
  • Sexual Health
  • Noncommunicable and Chronic Disease
  • Inequalities in Health
  • Development

Related Articles Expand or collapse the "related articles" sectionabout

Forthcoming Articles Expand or collapse the "forthcoming articles" section


Public Health Global Health Promotion
Angela Scriven
  • LAST REVIEWED: 15 December 2016
  • LAST MODIFIED: 23 February 2011
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756797-0007


There are a number of reasons why a global perspective and understanding relating to health promotion have become necessary. First, we live in an interconnected world, where boundaries separating us as individuals and population groups are rapidly eroding. The health and consequent health promotion implications of this interconnectedness are wide-ranging and multifaceted. Many of the health risks and public health priorities are global, and there is now recognition that the health of every nation is dependent on the health of others. Those countries with weak health profiles resulting from poor socioeconomic development will have repercussions for global health. The increasing health inequalities between countries are creating huge global asymmetries and significant challenges for those working to promote health gain. A number of global antihealth forces are compromising population health both within and between nations. In this context, health promotion principles and actions have never been more appropriate or more needed. Over the period from the Ottawa Conference through the six global conferences leading to the Bangkok Charter for Health Promotion, a large body of evidence and experience has accumulated about the importance of health promotion as an integrative, cost-effective strategy and as an essential component of health systems’ response to global health concerns. This article will begin with a section on introductory readings on global health promotion that establish the frame of reference. A consideration of some of the related journals follows; further citations are grouped under some of the key global health promotion issues and challenges: globalization; evidence of effectiveness; key global initiatives; and priority areas, including diet, physical activity and obesity, chronic diseases, health inequalities. The article concludes with references focusing on the relationship between the development agenda and health promotion.

Introductory Works

Each of the works listed here will provide different overviews or introductory descriptions of global health promotion. They differ in their purpose, and the selection is designed to give a broad conceptualization of the key issues. Scriven and Garman 2007 is one of the only edited texts with a specific focus on global health promotion. It includes three parts, with Part 1 covering global issues in promoting health, Part 2 addressing global health challenges, and Part 3 providing case studies from different countries and regions of the world that disseminate their health promotion strategies. It can be used as an introduction to global health promotion by undergraduate and master’s students but will also be a major resource for health promotion experts and practitioners. Scriven and Spellar 2007 summarizes a global health promotion research study mapping the impact of the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion on health promotion across different regions and countries of the world and, as such, provides an up-to-date account of global practice. This should be read in combination with World Health Organization 2009, which maps the charter and declarations that have influenced health promotion at a global level and begins with the Ottawa Charter. Skolnik 2008 provides a reference for those wanting an idea of the health challenges health promoters face at a global level, and Labonté and Laverack 2008 offers a critical view of how some of these can be addressed through political and community advocacy and empowerment approaches.

  • Labonté, Ronald, and Glenn Laverack. 2008. Health promotion in action: From local to global empowerment. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Moving from a local to a global focus is challenging, and this text provides the pathways that will enable health promoters to understand the main issues, such as globalization, social determinants of health, political advocacy, and the empowerment strategies that can be used for heath gain at a global level.

  • Scriven, A., and S. Garman. 2007. Promoting health: Global perspectives. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

    A distinguished pair of authors provides insights into the key determinants of health between and within countries, signals the health challenges to be faced, and makes assessments of how effective the methodologies of health promotion are in achieving health gain at a global level.

  • Scriven, A., and V. Speller. 2007. Global issues and challenges beyond Ottawa: The way forward. Promotion and Education 14.4: 194–198.

    DOI: 10.1177/10253823070140040201

    This overview article summaries the key dissemination points from countries involved in the global International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE) international research project, Renewing our Commitment to the Ottawa Charter: The Way Forward, jointly led and funded by the IUHPE and by the Canadian Consortium for Health Promotion Research (CCHPR).

  • Skolnik, R. 2008. Essentials in global health (essential public health series). Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett.

    Health promoters need an understanding of global health issues, including determinants, measurements, goals, challenges, and appropriate strategies. This book offers a basic introduction to important areas, such as culture and health, health beliefs, and important health promotion topics like nutrition, noncommunicable diseases, and child health.

  • World Health Organization. 2009. Milestones in health promotion: Statements from global conferences. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization.

    This compilation of consensus documents brings together charters, declarations, statements, and recommendations from past health promotion conferences. With the statements from Ottawa in 1986 to Bangkok in 2005 under one cover, this publication is a ready and authoritative reference. It includes the Discussion Document on the Concept and Principles of Health Promotion, Copenhagen, 9–13 July 1984.

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