The Ottawa Charter

Essay by kyaHigh School, 11th gradeA+, July 2005

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The first International Conference on Health Promotion, meeting in Ottawa this 21st day of November 1986, hereby presents this CHAR TER for action to achieve Health for All by the year 2000 and beyond.

This conference was primarily a response to growing expectations for a new public health movement around the world. Discussions focused on the needs in industrialised coun tries, but took into account similar concerns in all other regions. It built on the progress made through the Declaration on Primary Health Care at Alma Ata, the WorldHeaUh Organisa tion 's Targets for Health for All document, and the recent debate at the World Health Assembly on intersectaral action for health.


Health promotion is the process of enabling peo ple to increase control over, and to improve, their health. To reach a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, an individual or group must be able to identify and to realise aspirations, to satisfy needs, and to change or cope with the environment.

Health is, therefore, seen as a resource for everyday life, not the objec tive of living. Health is a positive concept empha sising social and personal resources, as well as physical capacities. Therefore, health promotion is not just the responsibility of the health sector, but goes beyond healthy lifestyles to well-being.

Prerequisites for health

The fundamental conditions and resources for health are peace, shelter, education, food, income, a stable ecosystem, sustainable resources, social justice and equity. Improvement in health requires a secure foundation in these basic prerequisites.


Good health is a major resource for social, eco nomic and personal development and an impor tant dimension of quality of life. Political, economic, social, cultural, environmental, behav ioural and biological factors can all favour health or be harmful to it. Health promotion action...