Health promotion

Book Webinar: Health in All Policies

Director General Pekka Puska: Helsinki 2013 for Health in All Policies

"Health is important to everybody. When a person loses his or her healthy functioning or becomes ill, she or he hopes to receive good treatment. The organization and financing of health services are an important issue for every country.

However, good health services do not necessarily equate to good public health – that is, a good level and equal distribution of health. Health is created in the physical and social environments where people live, play, work, spend their leisure time etc.

It has often been cited that health services alone account for only an estimated 10% of variation in life expectancy. Most variation is due to lifestyles and environments, and their determinants. And much of that is amendable to influence through policies – in different sectors.

The 8th Global WHO Conference on Health Promotion – which will take place in Helsinki on 10–14 June 1013 – will be a major forum for high level experts and decision-makers to discuss the concept of Health in All Policies (HiAP). The issue is that the implications for health of public policy decisions should be taken into account across different sectors.

We all – at least in the health sector – can easily agree on this principle. But the big question is HOW. What does HiAP mean in practice? What kind of experiences do we already have? What kind of recommendations can we give to countries and stakeholders? This is the topic of the Helsinki conference and of its key output – the Helsinki Statement and Framework for Country Action.

The conference in Helsinki will take place at a very interesting point in time. We have recently had the UN High Level Meeting in New York on Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases and also the WHO Conference on Social Determinants of Health in Rio de Janeiro.

The outcomes of these meetings form an important background for the Helsinki conference. And furthermore, the world is preparing for new global goals – post-2015 targets – following on from the historic Millennium Development Goals that were put in place for the period up until 2015".