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Use of evidence in WHO health promotion declarations: overview, critical analysis, and personal reflection

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Examining the use of evidence in the seven WHO statements regarding health promotion, published between 1986 and the current period, provides me with a starting point to reflect on the use of evidence in health promotion. These documents increasingly reference evidence to support the premises that health promotion is necessary and that health promotion strategies are effective. Within the context provided by the WHO health promotion documents, I attempt to reconcile the relationship between evidence and reality as conceived by the disciplines of medicine and health promotion. My training as a physician and current experience as a health promotion student points to similarities and differences between the worldviews of the two disciplines. I conclude that the concept of judicial review provides a means to critically appraise evidence that acknowledges both scientific knowledge and human experience that could be used in my future health promotion practice.

Keywords: Ottawa Charter; WHO; evidence; evidence-based medicine; health promotion; judicial review

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14623943.2011.590340

Affiliations: Public Health Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

Publication date: August 1, 2011

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