What is Health Promotion?

The World Health Organization defines the process of health promotion as ‘enabling people to increase control over, and to improve, their health’.

Reading & Resources

Textbooks & Chapters

Gottwald, M., & Goodman-Brown, J. (2012). A Guide to Practical Health Promotion. McGraw-Hill Education. (Ch1: An introduction to why Health Promotion is Important)

Green, J., Cross, R., Woodall, J. and Tones, K. (2019) Health Promotion: Planning & Strategies. (4th Ed.) Sage Publications Ltd.

Mason, P. (2019). Health Behavior Change: A Guide for Practitioners (3rd Ed.). Elsevier.

Naidoo, J., & Wills, J. (2016). Foundations for Health Promotion (4th Ed.). Elsevier Health Sciences.

Raingruber, B. (2014). Contemporary health promotion in nursing practice, Jones & Bartlett (Ch 3: Health promotion theories.)

Scriven, A. (2017). Promoting Health: A Practical Guide (7th Ed.). Elsevier Health Sciences. [Ch 2: What is Health Promotion]

Thompson, S. R. (2014). The Essential Guide to Public Health and Health Promotion. Routledge.

Recommended Journal Articles

Baum, F., & Fisher, M. (2014). Why behavioural health promotion endures despite its failure to reduce health inequities. Sociology of Health & Illness, 36(2), 213-225. DOI: 10.1111/1467-9566.12112

Tannahill, A. (2009). Health promotion: the Tannahill model revisited. Public Health, 123(5), 396-399. http://www.publichealthjrnl.com/article/S0033-3506(09)00059-6/abstract

Mittelmark, M. B., & Bull, T. (2013). The salutogenic model of health in health promotion research. Global Health Promotion, 20(2), 30-38.

Mittelmark, M. B., Sagy, S., Eriksson, M., Bauer, G. F., Pelikan, J. M., Lindström, B., & Espnes, G. A. (2017). The handbook of salutogenesis. Springer. [open access]

Carter, S. M., Rychetnik, L., Lloyd, B., Kerridge, I. H., Baur, L., Bauman, A., ... & Zask, A. (2011). Evidence, ethics, and values: a framework for health promotion. American Journal of Public Health, 101(3), 465-472

Guttman, N. (2017). Ethical issues in health promotion and communication interventions. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication. DOI : 10.1093/acrefore/9780190228613.013.118

Kickbusch, I. (2003). The contribution of the World Health Organization to a new public health and health promotion. American Journal of Public Health, 93(3), 383-388.

Kickbusch, I. (2019). Health promotion 4.0. Health Promotion International, 34(2), 179. https://doi.org/10.1093/heapro/daz022

Madsen, W. (2017). Early 20th century conceptualization of health promotion. Health Promotion International, 32(6), 1041-1047. https://doi.org/10.1093/heapro/daw039

Raingruber, B. (2017). The history of health promotion. In Contemporary Health Promotion in Nursing Practice, 23-47. http://samples.jbpub.com/9781284094749/Chapter_2.pdf

Tengland, P. A. (2016). Behavior change or empowerment: On the ethics of health-promotion goals. Health Care Analysis, 24(1), 24-46. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10728-013-0265-0

Tountas, Y. (2009). The historical origins of the basic concepts of health promotion and education: the role of ancient Greek philosophy and medicine. Health Promotion International, 24(2), 185-192. https://doi.org/10.1093/heapro/dap006

Van den Broucke, S. Why health promotion matters to the COVID-19 pandemic, and vice versa. Health Promotion International. https://doi.org/10.1093/heapro/daaa042

Walls, H. L., & Bebe Loff PhD, L. L. B. (2009). Why Education and Choice Won't Solve the Obesity Problem. American Journal of Public Health, 99(4), 590. https://dx.doi.org/10.2105%2FAJPH.2008.156232


World Health Organisation - Health Promotion

The Community Toolbox - What is Health Promotion?

Health Equalities Group- http://www.hegroup.org.uk/about-heg/who-we-are

Institute of Health Promotion and Education -http://ihpe.org.uk

International Union for Health Promotion and Education- http://www.iuhpe.org/

Public Health Observatory -http://www.apho.org.uk/

The UK Public Health Network -http://www.ukpublichealthnetwork.org.uk/about-ukphn/

World Health Organisation - http://www.who.int/en

Global health promotion resources

WHO Milestones in Health Promotion (2009)

WHO Global Health Observatory Data

WHO Global Programme on Health Promotion Effectiveness (GPHPE)

WHO Healthy Settings

IUHPE - International Union for Health Promotion and Education

IUHPE Core Competencies

Global Health Promotion Case Studies - A Green et al (2019) resource

Health promotion skill-building resources

Community Toolbox

Intervention Mapping

Participatory Methods

Theories of change in the promotion of health

CDC Everyday words for public health communication

Public Health Partners - A US site for collating & signposting to a range of public health

Roots of Health Inequity - A free interactive learning resource

UK health promotion resources

Public Health England Homepage

UK PHE Wider Determinants of Health



The National Social Marketing Centre



Health economics: evidence review from PHE

Glasgow Centre for Population Health

Plymouth (Livewell) Health Promotion Resources