Understanding the Challenges in Public Health Policymaking: Introduction

  • Kathrin LoerEmail author
  • Benjamin Ewert
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Public Health Policy Research book series (PSPHPR)


Loer and Ewert introduce the key issues of the book and initiate the discussion on contemporary public health policymaking: they point out how individual and societal parameters interfere with policy interventions. The introduction to the book explains how this idea of reciprocity will be combined with the current debate on struggles against lifestyles being (potentially) dangerous to health. The reader will learn how public health can be conceptualised in the light of the most relevant challenges to policymaking. Furthermore, the introduction gives a brief overview of the following chapters.


Public health Contemporary challenges Policymaking Individual and societal dimensions 


  1. Baum, F., & Fisher, M. (2014). Why behavioural health promotion endures despite its failure to reduce health inequities. Sociology of Health & Illness, 36(2), 213–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bergenheim, S., Edman, J., Kananen, J., & Wessel, M. (2018). Conceptualising public health: An introduction. In J. Kananen, S. Bergenheim, & M. Wessel (Eds.), Conceptualising public health: Historical and contemporary struggles over key concepts (pp. 1–17). Oxon/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. Botzem, S., & Strassheim, H. (2016). On her majesty’s service? The behavioural insights team and its role in the global rise of behavioural change policies. Paper presented at the 44th ECPR Joint Sessions 2016, Workshop No. 2: Behavioural Change and Public Policy, Pisa, Italy.Google Scholar
  4. Clavier, C., & de Leeuw, E. (2013). Health promotion and the policy process. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. de Leeuw, E. (2017). Engagement of sectors other than health in integrated health governance, policy, and action. Annual Review of Public Health, 38(1), 329–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Evans, R. G., Barer, M. L., & Marmor, T. R. (1994). Why are some people healthy and others not? The determinants of the health of populations. Berlin/New York: Walter de gruyter.Google Scholar
  7. Fafard, P. (2015). Beyond the usual suspects: Using political science to enhance public health policy making. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 69(11), 1129–1132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Frieden, T. R. (2010). A framework for public health action: The health impact pyramid. American Journal of Public Health, 100(4), 590–595.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hanoch, Y., & Barnes, A. J. (Eds.). (2017). Behavioral economics and healthy behaviors: Key concepts and current research. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  10. Howlett, M. (2011). Designing public policies. Principles and instruments. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  11. John, P. (2018). How far to nudge? Assessing behavioural public policy. Cheltenham/Northampton: Edward Elgar.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kananen, J., Bergenheim, S., & Wessel, M. (2018). Conceptualising public health: Historical and contemporary struggles over key concepts. Oxon/New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kickbusch, I. (2007). Health governance: The health society. In D. V. McQueen, I. Kickbusch, & L. Potvin (Eds.), Health and modernity: The role of theory in health promotion (pp. 144–161). Berlin: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Korpi, W. (2001). Contentious institutions: An augmented rational-action analysis of the origins and path dependency of welfare state institutions in western countries. Rationality and Society, 13(2), 235–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lowi, T. J. (1972). Four systems of policy, politics, and choice. Public Administration Review, 32(4), 298–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. McQueen, D., Wismar, M., Lin, V., Jones, C. M., & Davies, M. (2012). Intersectoral governance for health in all policies: Structures, actions and experiences (Observatory Studies Series 26). Copenhagen: WHO Regional Office for Europe.Google Scholar
  17. Milio, N. (1981). Promoting health through public policy. Philadelphia: F. A. Davis Company.Google Scholar
  18. Nakhimovsky, S. S., Feigl, A. B., Avila, C., O’Sullivan, G., Macgregor-Skinner, E., & Spranca, M. (2016). Taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages to reduce overweight and obesity in middle-income countries: A systematic review. PLoS One, 11(9), e0163358.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. OECD. (2014). Social expenditure update – Social spending is falling in some countries, but in many others it remains at historically high levels. Retrieved June 14, 2018, from
  20. Rootman, I., Pedersen, A., Frohlich, K., & Dupéré, S. (2017). Health promotion in Canada. In New perspectives on theory, practice, policy, and research (4th ed.). Toronto/Vancouver: Canadian Scholars.Google Scholar
  21. Ruger, J. P. (2004). Health and social justice. Lancet, 364(9439), 1075.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Thaler, R. H., & Sunstein, C. R. (2009). Nudge. Improving decisions about health, wealth, and happiness. New York: Penguin.Google Scholar
  23. United Nations (UN). (2018). Scope, modalities, format and organization of the third high-level meeting of the General Assembly on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases. Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 12 April 2018. Retrieved June 14, 2018, from
  24. Vedung, E. (2003). Policy instruments: Typologies and theories. In M.-L. Bemelmans-Videc, R. C. Rist, & E. Vedung (Eds.), Carrots, sticks & sermons. Policy instruments and their evaluation (pp. 21–58). New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  25. Wood, G., & Gough, I. (2006). A comparative welfare regime approach to global social policy. World Development, 34(10), 1696–1712.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. World Health Organization (WHO). (2018). Time to deliver: Report of the WHO Independent high-level commission on noncommunicable diseases. Geneva: World Health Organization Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.FernUniversität in HagenHagenGermany

Personalised recommendations