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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 107, Issue 2, pp e205–e208 | Cite as

What you do every day matters: A new direction for health promotion

  • Rebecca E. GewurtzEmail author
  • Sandra E. Moll
  • Lori J. Letts
  • Nadine Larivière
  • Mélanie Levasseur
  • Terry M. Krupa
Commentary
  • 1 Downloads

Abstract

Canadian health promotion campaigns directed towards healthy living have traditionally emphasized discrete behaviours that influence health and well-being, such as diet, physical activity and smoking. Although this traditional approach is important and supported by evidence, it does not account for broader determinants of health. The purpose of this commentary is to propose an innovative health promotion approach that expands the healthy living discourse through a focus on patterns of daily activity. We highlight four key public health messages derived from a synthesis of existing research evidence. The messages are based on the premise that what you do every day has an important impact on health and well-being. Rather than being prescriptive or outlining minimum requirements, this approach invites reflection on various experiences and activity patterns that shape the health and well-being of individuals and communities. This broader and more inclusive approach to healthy living reflects diverse needs and experiences, making it relevant and attainable for people of all ages and abilities. Future efforts directed at operationalizing the key messages for individuals and communities hold much promise for populations that may be at risk of activity patterns believed to contribute to poor health and well-being.

Key words

Health promotion health behaviour social conditions health status disparities social participation lifestyle 

Résumé

Les campagnes canadiennes de promotion de la santé axées sur les modes de vie sains portent en général sur les comportements distincts qui influencent la santé et le bien-être, comme le régime alimentaire, l’activité physique et le tabagisme. Cette démarche classique est importante et appuyée par des données probantes, mais elle ne tient pas compte des grands déterminants de la santé. Le but de notre commentaire est de proposer une démarche de promotion de la santé novatrice qui va au delà du discours sur les modes de vie sains en s’intéressant aux schémas d’activité quotidiens. Nous faisons ressortir quatre messages de santé publique essentiels dérivés d’une synthèse des données de recherche existantes. Ces messages reposent sur l’hypothèse selon laquelle ce que l’on fait tous les jours a un effet important sur la santé et le bien-être. Au lieu d’être prescriptive ou de définir des exigences de base, une telle démarche invite à réfléchir aux diverses expériences et aux schémas d’activité qui façonnent la santé et le bien-être des personnes et des communautés. Cette façon plus large et plus globale d’aborder les modes de vie sains reflète la diversité des besoins et des expériences, ce qui la rend pertinente et atteignable pour des gens de tous âges et de toutes capacités. Les efforts futurs de cette démarche pour opérationnaliser les messages essentiels en fonction des personnes et des communautés sont très prometteurs pour les populations risquant d’avoir des schémas d’activité qui contribuent à réduire leur santé et leur bien-être.

Mots clés

promotion de la santé comportement sanitaire conditions sociales disparités d’état sanitaire participation sociale style de vie 

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rebecca E. Gewurtz
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sandra E. Moll
    • 1
  • Lori J. Letts
    • 1
  • Nadine Larivière
    • 2
  • Mélanie Levasseur
    • 2
  • Terry M. Krupa
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Rehabilitation ScienceMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada
  2. 2.School of Rehabilitation, Faculty of Medicine and Health SciencesUniversité de SherbrookeSherbrookeCanada
  3. 3.School of Rehabilitation TherapyQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada

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