Healthy Settings

Introduction to Healthy Settings

Healthy people
The World Bank
History of the Healthy Settings movement

The Healthy Settings movement came out of the WHO strategy of Health for All in 1980. The approach was more clearly laid out in the 1986 Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion. These documents were important steps towards establishing the holistic and multifaceted approach embodied by Healthy Settings programmes, as well as towards the integration of health promotion and sustainable development.

Building on the Ottawa Charter, the Sundsvall Statement of 1992 called for the creation of supportive environments with a focus on settings for health. In 1997, the Jakarta Declaration emphasized the value of settings for implementing comprehensive strategies and providing an infrastructure for health promotion. Today, various settings are used to facilitate the improvement of public health throughout the world.

Global Strategy for Health for All by the Year 2000 (1981)

Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion (1986)

Sundsvall Statement on Supportive Environments for Health (1992)

Jakarta Declaration on Leading Health Promotion into the 21st Century (1997)

Definition of a setting

Setting for Health

The place or social context in which people engage in daily activities in which environmental, organizational, and personal factors interact to affect health and wellbeing.

A setting is where people actively use and shape the environment; thus it is also where people create or solve problems relating to health. Settings can normally be identified as having physical boundaries, a range of people with defined roles, and an organizational structure. Examples of settings include schools, work sites, hospitals, villages and cities.

Action to promote health through different settings can take many forms. Actions often involve some level of organizational development, including changes to the physical environment or to the organizational structure, administration and management. Settings can also be used to promote health as they are vehicles to reach individuals, to gain access to services, and to synergistically bring together the interactions throughout the wider community.

Development of Healthy Settings

Following the Ottawa Charter and Jakarta Declaration, healthy setting programs took off predominantly in Europe and the Americas. The primary form of implementation has been the Healthy Cities program; however, via pilot projects and expansion efforts, many other Healthy Settings have been established throughout the two regions. Today, efforts have been made in all WHO regions to expand the movement.

Place of Healthy Settings today

The successes of settings-based approaches have been validated through internal and external evaluation and experiences. Healthy Settings provides a cross-over approach that is applicable to many intervention efforts covered by the WHO mandate. Thus, given appropriate and accessible information sharing to guidance and program development, Healthy Settings stands to be a strong tool in to protect public health and foster responsible development. Healthy Settings remains a useful, dynamic method to integrate risk factors and address disease prevention aiming to improve overall quality of life.

Healthy Settings links by Regional Office

Eastern Mediterranean

South East Asia

Western Pacific

Contact us

For further information or to offer additional resources to the Healthy Settings website.