Health promotion

Finland leads the way in taking health into all policies

Helsinki, Finland
14 June 2013

Nearly 900 delegates from all over the world discussed during five days how political decisions on health are implemented into practical actions in the WHO 8th Global Conference on Health Promotion in Helsinki from 10 to 14 June.

The participants expressed their common understanding and commitment in the Helsinki Statement on Health in All Policies that was put out on the final day of the conference.

Minister of Health and Social Services, Susanna Huovinen is pleased with the outcome of the conference.

“We have deepened our understanding on the ways in which we can strengthen our efforts to integrate health in all policy-making, and thereby to improve health and health equity, as well as to acquire other societal goals.”

“This conference can mark a turning point in implementing Health in all policies at the various levels of policy-making and thus make a real difference. However, the changes will not happen automatically. We need to continue to work hard at all levels of policy-making.”

“We need to continue our efforts to bring about an understanding and will within our governments, politicians, other policy-makers, people and their organizations that health and health equity are important values and that they make a difference in the society. We may need to remind the government about their responsibilities for health”, minister Huovinen says.

“Today, we start to see the true power of this approach to influence factors that go beyond but are ultimately linked to health: issues of poverty, water and sanitation, safety and security, sustainable economic and social development,” said Dr Oleg Chestnov, Assistant Director-General, non-communicable diseases and mental health, World Health Organization.

“Putting health in all policies is the way to improve people’s chances for a healthy life, while, at the same time, achieve policy objectives in other areas.”

Health promotion and health in all policies are important priorities for Finland. Therefore Finland offered to host the conference, held in Helsinki this week.

“Finland is in the forefront to tackle health problems of the future because of our past and present actions and experiences in public health”, says Pekka Puska, Director General of the National Institute of Health and Welfare.

“The public health improvement in Finland has been possible through dedicated and theory-based action involving many sectors, Puska continues”

“The public health improvement in Finland has been possible through dedicated and theory-based action involving many sectors, Puska continues”

The conference honoured former Director General of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Kimmo Leppo, the father of HiAP approach, for a lifetime achievement in health promotion.

The conference aroused a lot of interest in the civil society: more than a hundred people followed the conference webcasts daily and several thousands of messages were posted during the week on the electronic message wall at the conference main hall.

Further information

  • Taru Koivisto, Drector, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Finland, tel. +358 2951 63323
  • Pekka Puska, Director General, National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Finland, tel. +358 29 524 6001
  • Eeva Ollila, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Finland, tel. +358 29 516 3327
  • Joel Schaefer, Communications Officer, WHO, tel. +41 79 5164756