The choices people make are supported by the choices that they have1
There are two broad ways to improve peoples’ health and wellness. The most common
The Healthy Communities Approach originated in Canada in the late 1980’s and is being used in cities,
The core values of the Healthy Communities Approach are capacity building and empowerment of individuals, organizations and communities3
Produced by BC Healthy Communities Society the following video reveals the root causes of ill-health and the fundamental role communities play in creating environments that promote health and well-being.
As the video shows, healthy communities have a multitude of characteristics. How many features apply where you live?
- Engaged citizens
- A vibrant economy
- Affordable housing
- Protected parks & green space
- Accessible community services
- Thriving neighbourhoods
- Clean air and water
- A sustainable environment
- Ethnic and cultural diversity
- Healthy public policy
- Opportunities to make healthy choices
The Healthy Communities Approach
This approach is made up of the following 5 essential building blocks:
Community engagement is a process of meaningfully involving communities in determining priority areas for action plans and decision-making.
Multi-sectoral collaboration is a recognized relationship between part or parts of different sectors of society that have been formed to take action on an issue to achieve health outcomes in a way which is more effective, efficient or sustainable than might be achieved by the health sector acting alone (Nutbeam, 1986).
Asset-based community development
Asset-based community development is an approach that empowers both individuals and communities by focusing on community strengths and on the skills, knowledge and assets of all those who live, work and play there.
Political commitment is the commitment to a healthy community by providing leadership and decision making that considers health and wellbeing in policy decisions and planning.
Healthy public policy
Healthy public policy is focused on health and equity in all areas of policy and accountability (World Health Organization, 1988). It goes beyond health policy, with the motto of "health in all policies", including agriculture, trade, education, industry and communication.
The Healthy Communities Approach strengthens the community’s capacity to engage citizens, politicians, and other stakeholders, giving them a voice and responsibility for the long-term health and
1. Rehm et al., as cited in Eastern Health, 2012
3. BC Healthy Communities
4. Nutbeam 1986
5. World Health Organization, 1988
6. Ontario Healthy Communities Coalition (2010) Healthy Communities’: A Backgrounder.
Build a Healthy Community
Learn about the approach to make your community a healthier place
See what other communities across Alberta have done to promote healthy living
Discover tools and resources that can help you create your own healthy community