How can health promotion contribute to pulling humans back from the brink of disaster?

Fran Baum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Health promotion has evolved over the last decades from a primary focus on behaviour change to establishing an ambitious goal of creating healthy, fair and sustainable environments in a manner which realises the rights of all people to health and well-being while protecting the health of our planet and its ecosystems. This paper argues that in order to contribute to this ambitious goal, health promotion must address three key tasks. The first is the need to take planetary health more seriously and move away from reductionist thinking to an approach that sees the planet as a complex system and values more harmony with nature, protects biodiversity and prevents global warming. The second task is to advocate and support governments to govern for health. The key to doing this is putting health and equity before profit, creating healthy urban environments, encouraging participatory decision-making, advocating for healthy economic models and assessing the ways in which corporate determinants of health operate. The third task is to ensure that moves to professionalise health promotion do not come at the expense of health promotion advocacy to powerful people and organisations. Health promotion is well placed to support civil society movements arguing for social and economic change that will benefit health such as the Black Lives Matter and environment movements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-72
Number of pages9
JournalGlobal Health Promotion
Issue number4
Early online date28 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Climate change
  • determinants of health
  • empowerment/power
  • equity/social justice
  • health promotion
  • policy/politics
  • urban planning/urban health/urbanisation
  • politics
  • urban health
  • urban planning
  • urbanization
  • policy


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