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Health – a historical journey (Regina Klein)
In addition to the predominant medical or biological approach to health and disease, as early as 1948, the World Health Organization (WHO) defined health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. As concerns Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, health was recognized as a fundamental right of every human being regardless of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition whereas the health of all peoples is fundamental to the attainment of peace and security (UN 1946).In 1986 with the introduction of the Ottawa Charta the direction of health promotion began to shift from focusing on individual risk factors or risk behaviors to addressing the “context and meaning” of health actions and the determinants that maintain people’s health. From that moment on “health in all policies” requires as fundamental conditions and resources for health: peace, shelter, education, food, income, a stable eco-system, sustainable resources, social justice and equality.The related broadened definition is “Health is created and lived by people within the settings of their everyday life; where they learn, work, play and love. Health is created by caring for oneself and others, by being able to take decisions and have control over one’s life circumstances, and by ensuring that the society one lives in creates conditions that allow the attainment of health by all its members. Caring, holism and ecology are essential issues in developing strategies for health promotion. Therefore, those involved should take as a guiding principle that, in each phase of planning, implementation and evaluation of health promotion activities, women and men should become equal partners“ (Ottawa Charte 1986) (link to participation action research).