Health in All Policies

The Health in All Policies (HiAP) approach recognizes and addresses the fact that many of the determinants of health lie outside of the health sector. HiAP encourages governments to take a more inclusive approach by making the improvement of population health a shared goal across all sectors of governance. HiAP is an instrument to address the social determinants of health through intersectoral and ‘whole of government’ policy and governance. It thus assesses and addresses the potential impact on health of policies that originate in government sectors other than health.

The key aspects cross sectoral healthy public policies were initially developed and endorsed by the first two International Conferences on Health Promotion in Ottawa (1986) and Adelaide (1988). With renewed political attention being paid to the social determinants of health following the work accomplished by the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH 2005-08), HiAP and related concepts have figured prominently in both the CSDH’s final report and the subsequent Rio Declaration on the Social Determinants of Health.

On the European level, an inclusive, intersectoral approach to health has been made a constitutional requirement by the Article 152 of the Treaty establishing the European Community which stipulates that “a high level of human health protection shall be ensured by all Community institutions in the definition of all Community policies and activities“( As a consequence, a multisectoral approach is at the heart of EU health policies at all levels, from global health to action at the national level. In addition, individual member states consider the promotion of inclusive health governance a policy priority: Finland, for instance, produced a Council-endorsed report on HiAP in Europe during its 2006 presidency and will use its position as host of the 2013 Global Conference on Health Promotion to make Health in All Policies a focal element of the meeting.