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Key Concepts and Documents

A New Perspective on the Health of Canadians

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A New Perspective on the Health of Canadians PDF is one of the founding documents in health promotion. Since its release in 1974, the document has challenged traditional views about health and has received, and continues to receive, national and international acclaim and recognition for its contribution to the health field. It has been a cornerstone of Canada’s international reputation and a proud historical achievement in the health field.

Assessing the Impact and Effectiveness of Intersectoral Action on the Social Determinants of Health

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This expedited systematic review is part of the NCCDH’s effort to explores “what works” to improve health equity through action on the social determinants of health. The purpose of the review is to examine the question, “What is the impact and effectiveness of intersectoral action as a public health practice for health equity through action on the social determinants of health?”

Closing the Gap in a Generation: Health Equity through Action on the Social Determinants of Health
(WHO Commission on the Social Determinants of Health, 2008)

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This report is the result of a three-year study conducted under the auspices of the World Health Organization (Commission on Social Determinants of Health). The Commission was chaired by Sir Michael Marmot and included the input of hundreds of experts on global health worldwide. It synthesizes global evidence on the social determinants of health and their impact on health inequity, and to make recommendations for action to address that inequity. The report itself is 250 pages long and is available online in multiple languages. The overarching recommendations are to:

  1. Improve daily living conditions;
  2. Tackle the inequitable distribution of power, money and resources; and
  3. Measure and understand the problem and assess the impact of action.

Emerging Theories in Health Promotion Practice and Research, 2nd Edition (2009)

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This text offers an action-oriented epidemiologic approach to understanding the risk factors affecting adolescent health, and what can be done in response. Drawing on the leading experts in the field, this reference provides a survey and assessment of adolescent health risk behaviours, such as smoking, violence, teen pregnancy, and AIDS. Also described are trends and changes in risk behaviours over time; important theoretical models for developing interventions; prevention strategies for each risk behaviour; and effective treatment modalities. The text covers individual level approaches, community-based approaches, as well as ecological approaches.

Health Promotion Glossary
(WHO, 1998 | PDF, 586 KB)

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WHO’s Health Promotion Glossary was written to facilitate understanding, communication and cooperation among those engaged in health promotion at the local, regional, national and global levels. The first edition was released in 1986, and the second in 1998. In 2006, an update including 10 new terms to be included in the Glossary was published in Health Promotion International.

Health Promotion in Canada: Critical Perspectives on Practice 3rd Edition
Edited by Irving Rootman, Sophie Dupéré, Ann Pederson and Michel O'Neill (2012)

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Health Promotion in Canada is a comprehensive profile of the history and future of health promotion in Canada. Now in its third edition, it maintains the critical, sociological, and historical perspective of the previous two editions and adds a greater focus on health promotion practice.

Milestones in Health Promotion
(WHO, 2009 | PDF, 2.3 MB)

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This compilation of consensus documents brings together Charters, Declarations, Statements and Recommendations from past Health Promotion conferences. With the statements from Ottawa in 1986 to Bangkok in 2005 under one cover, this publication is a ready and authoritative reference. It includes the Discussion Document on the Concept and Principles of Health Promotion, Copenhagen, 9-13 July 1984.

Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion
(PHAC | PDF, 192 KB)

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The Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion is the name of an international agreement signed at the First International Conference on Health Promotion, held in Ottawa in 1986, and organized by the World Health Organization (WHO). It is often recognized as one of the key founding document of health promotion. It defines health promotion and presents fundamental strategies and approaches for health promotion. It also gives concrete examples and practical suggestions regarding how real advances can be achieved and outlines the action required.

Primer to Action: Social Determinants of Health
Health Nexus and Ontario Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance, 2008 | PDF, 979 KB)

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This is an electronic resource that explains how the social determinants of health impact chronic disease. Set in an electronic, easy to read format, with hundreds of links and resources, it is a practical resource for busy health and community workers, activists, in their capacity as staff, volunteers or community members. Primer to Action provides a point of entry to understand and take action on six health determinants: Income, Employment, Housing, Food Security, Education and Inclusion. It offers concrete suggestions for change in the community, the workplace and the broader society.

Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) – Health Promotion Website Pages

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Includes numerous links to topics covered by the various PHAC divisions. Includes information on Child Health, Healthy Pregnancy and Infancy, Healthy Living, Injury Prevention, Mental Health, National Clearinghouse on Family Violence, Obesity, Physical Activity, Population Health, Rural Health, and Seniors Health

Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) – Population Health Approach Website Pages

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This site provides information about the population health approach, the determinants of health, the importance of collaboration/partnerships, and implementing the population health approach. It also talks about PHAC’s population health initiatives and funding opportunities, and provides links to various related resources.

The Social Determinants of Health: The Canadian Facts
(Mikkonen and Raphael, 2010 | PDF, 4.5 MB)

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The key message of this report is that the health of Canadians is much less determined by the health care system than we typically think. Much more important are public policies that influence living conditions. This document clearly explains how Canadians’ health is shaped by how much income and wealth they have, whether or not they are employed and if so, the working conditions they experience. Raphael and Mikkonen pull together a wide range of research to show how health is powerfully influenced by Canadians’ ability to obtain quality education, food and housing, among other factors.

Twenty-five Years After the Ottawa Charter: The Critical Role of Health Promotion for Public Health
(Potvin and Jones, 2011)

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This paper was commissioned specifically for the 25th Anniversary of the Ottawa Charter. In this paper, Potvin and Jones (2011) examine how public health has integrated health promotion by exploring examples of changes in public health systems and practice at international and national levels of governance. They highlight an important challenge remaining for health promotion: better use of research to understand how the values, principles and processes of health promotion can help to achieve public health mandates. A three-pronged action plan is proposed.