Journal Article

The historical origins of the basic concepts of health promotion and education: the role of ancient Greek philosophy and medicine

Yannis Tountas

in Health Promotion International

Volume 24, issue 2, pages 185-192
Published in print June 2009 | ISSN: 0957-4824
Published online March 2009 | e-ISSN: 1460-2245 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/heapro/dap006
The historical origins of the basic concepts of health promotion and education: the role of ancient Greek philosophy and medicine

Show Summary Details

Preview

SUMMARY

Although it is commonly accepted that the basic concepts of ‘Health Promotion’ have been developed in the last two decades, they have their roots in ancient civilizations and in particular in Greek antiquity. As evident from medical and philosophical documents of the sixth to fourth centuries B.C., the ancient Greeks were the first to break with the supernatural conceptions of health and disease that had so far dominated human societies. The ancient Greeks developed the physiocratic school of thought, realizing that maintaining good health and fighting illness depend on natural causes and that health and disease cannot be dissociated from particular physical and social environments nor from human behavior. In this context, they defined health as a state of dynamic equilibrium between the internal and the external environment, they took under consideration the physical and social determinants of health, they empowered individuals and communities through new democratic and participatory institutions, they gave emphasis in health education and skill development, they recognized the importance of supportive environments and of healthy public policy and they re-oriented medicine toward a more naturalistic and humanistic perspective. The aim of the present study is to highlight such core concepts from these early times that helped establishing the foundations for health promotion and education in the modern era according to the Ottawa Charter.

Keywords: health promotion; Ottawa Charter

Journal Article.  4899 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.