Journal Article

How to change environmental conditions for health

Matthew J. Commers, Nell Gottlieb and Gerjo Kok

in Health Promotion International

Volume 22, issue 1, pages 80-87
Published in print March 2007 | ISSN: 0957-4824
Published online October 2006 | e-ISSN: 1460-2245 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/heapro/dal038
How to change environmental conditions for health

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Summary

Since the Lalonde report, contemporary public-health theory has given steadily more attention to the role of environments in influencing health status. Environments, both social and physical, influence health directly or through complex interactions with behavior, genetics and health-care systems. They are also important for public-health because environments are the complex systems through which people are both empowered and exercise their empowerment. If public-health professionals are to play a significant role in influencing environments for health, they need analytical instruments that enable them to link specific environmental conditions with the actions necessary to improve them. These instruments must also enable public-health professionals to identify points of leverage for stimulating key actors to take the actions necessary to make environments more promoting of health. This article first presents one such analytical instrument. Then, building on examples relating to socio-economic health inequities, the analytical instrument is applied to reveal how it can add value to health professionals' effectiveness in planning interventions for more health-promoting environments.

Keywords: environment; health; instrument

Journal Article.  3777 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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