Healthy public policy

Healthy public policy:

Healthy public policy is characterized by an explicit concern for health and equity in all areas of policy, and by an accountability for health impact. The main aim of healthy public policy is to create a supportive environment to enable people to lead healthy lives. Such a policy makes healthy choices possible or easier for citizens. It makes social and physical environments health enhancing.

Reference: Adelaide Recommendations on Healthy Public Policy. WHO, Geneva, 1988

The Ottawa Charter highlighted the fact that health promotion action goes beyond the health care sector, emphasizing that health should be on the policy agenda in all sectors, and at all levels of government. One important element in building healthy public policy is the notion of accountability for health. Governments are ultimately accountable to their people for the health consequences of their policies, or lack of policies. A commitment to healthy public policies means that governments must measure and report on their investments for health, and the subsequent health outcomes, and intermediate health outcomes of their investments and policies in a language that all groups in society readily understand. Closely related to the health promotion concept of healthy public policy is the strategy of investment for health. Investment for health is a strategy for optimizing the health promoting impact of public policies.

Source: Health Promotion Glossary (1998), WHO/HPR/HEP/98.1