Health promotion

Adelaide Recommendations on Healthy Public Policy

Second International Conference on Health Promotion, Adelaide, South Australia, 5-9 April 1988

Accountability for Health

The recommendations of this Conference will be realized only if governments at national, regional and local levels take action. The development of healthy public policy is as important at the local levels of government as it is nationally. Governments should set explicit health goals that emphasize health promotion.

Public accountability for health is an essential nutrient for the growth of healthy public policy. Governments and all other controllers of resources are ultimately accountable to their people for the health consequences of their policies, or lack of policies. A commitment to healthy public policy means that governments must measure and report the health impact of their policies in language that all groups in society readily understand. Community action is central to the fostering of healthy public policy. Taking education and literacy into account, special efforts must be made to communicate with those groups most affected by the policy concerned.

The Conference emphasizes the need to evaluate the impact of policy. Health information systems that support this process need to be developed. This will encourage informed decision-making over the future allocation of resources for the implementation of healthy public policy.

Moving beyond health care

Healthy public policy responds to the challenges in health set by an increasingly dynamic and technologically changing world, with is complex ecological interactions and growing international interdependencies. Many of the health consequences of these challenges cannot be remedied by present and foreseeable health care. Health promotion efforts are essential, and these require an integrated approach to social and economic development which will reestablish the links between health and social reform, which the World Health Organization policies of the past decade have addressed as a basic principle.

Partners in the policy process

Government plays an important role in health, but health is also influenced greatly by corporate and business interests, nongovernmental bodies and community organizations. Their potential for preserving and promoting people's health should be encouraged. Trade unions, commerce and industry, academic associations and religious leaders have many opportunities to act in the health interests of the whole community. New alliances must be forged to provide the impetus for health action.