Healthy public policy is characterized by an explicit concern for health and equity in all areas of policy with an emphasis on the impact of these policies on health1.

The main aim of healthy public policy is to create a supportive environment to enable people to lead healthy lives. Such a policy makes healthy choices possible or easier for citizens. It makes social and physical environments health-enhancing. One important element in building a healthy public policy is the notion of accountability for health. Governments are ultimately accountable to their people for the health consequences of their policies or lack of policies. A commitment to healthy public policies means that governments must measure and report on their investments for health, and the subsequent health outcomes in easy to understand language. A national policy on health affects a population at different levels – at the macro-level (national) economic policy can be affected, at the meso-level decision by institutions such as schools and childcare organizations are affected such as the decisions to be a health-promoting school. 


1. Nutbeam D. Health Promotion Glossary. Health Promot Int. 1998;13:349–364. doi: 10.1093/heapro/13.4.349. 


Search the SHE glossary