An Ecological Perspective on Health Promotion Systems, Settings and Social Processes

An Ecological Perspective on Health Promotion Systems, Settings and Social Processes

This e-book adds a new dimension to currently available text in health promotion by applying examples from evaluation studies to explore basic health promotion principles. It thus goes beyond single c
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National Objectives-Local Practice: Implementation of Health Promotion Policies

Pp. 34-39 (6)

Elisabeth Fosse


This chapter addresses system-level analyses by discussing the translation of Norwegian national health promotion policy into municipality-level actions, with a focus on implementation conditions. In the 1990s, several nationwide health promotion programmes were initiated that aimed at integrating health promotion work into the social welfare and health agendas of municipalities. Two of these programmes are analysed in this chapter. The analyses combine two different perspectives: a decision perspective that studies the project outcomes in terms of how the projects were integrated into local government, and a process perspective that focuses on how the participants worked together and on their experiences of working on the projects. The analyses found that projects aimed at integration with local government administration were more successful than projects that aimed at empowering local communities. It seems that a system-level approach is more effective than a community approach. This finding represents a dilemma for health promotion that aims to stimulate community-setting approaches and involve local residents. Consequences of the observed dilemma are discussed.


Health promotion, policy, municipality practice, social welfare, Norwegian health promotion programmes, decision perspective, process perspective, system level approach, community setting approach, effectiveness, dilemma.


University of Bergen, Norway