What is health Promotion?


WHO, Ottawa Charter, 1986 

‘Health promotion is the process of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve, their health. To reach a state of complete physical mental and social wellbeing, an individual or group must be able to identify and to realize aspirations, to satisfy needs, and to change or cope with the environment … health promotion is not just the responsibility of the health sector, but goes beyond healthy lifestyles to wellbeing. 

Health promotion focuses on achieving equity in health. Health promotion action aims at reducing differences in current health status and ensuring equal opportunities and resources to enable all people to achieve their fullest health potential.‘


The Bangkok Charter 

An international document that builds on the Ottawa Charter is the Bangkok Charter for Health Promotion in a Globalised World developed in Bangkok on 11 August 2005.

The Bangkok Charter identifies actions, commitments and pledges required to address the determinants of health in a globalised world through health promotion. Key aspects include: Progress towards a healthier world requires strong political action, broad participation and sustained advocacy. Health promotion has an established repertoire of proven effective strategies which need to be fully utilised.


Geneva Charter for Well-being 

The Geneva Charter for Well-being builds on the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion and the legacy of nine global conferences on health promotion.  It highlights the need for global commitments to achieve equitable health and social outcomes now and for future generations, without destroying the health of our planet. This charter will drive policy-makers and world leaders to adopt this approach and commit to concrete action. 

The world faces complex and interrelated crises, but they impact countries in different ways. Recent pandemics have exposed the fractures in society and highlighted the ecological, political, commercial, digital and social determinants of health and health inequities, within and between social groups and nations. 

Climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, rapid urbanization, geopolitical conflict and militarization, demographic change, population displacement, poverty, and widespread inequity create risks of future crises even more severe than those experienced today. Responses require investments that integrate planetary, societal, community and individual health and well-being, as well as changes in social structures to support people to take control of their lives and health. Fundamental redirection of societal values and action consistent with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development are required.