General practitioners are well placed to provide health promotion,
both at the individual level and more broadly by addressing
socioenvironmental determinants of health. However, important
barriers exist which need to be tackled.
This article describes the current approach to health promotion by
Australian GPs and identifies a gap in GP training and education as
an important barrier to health promotion.
Health promotion by Australian GPs is currently focused on the
individual behaviour of patients. To improve the health of individuals,
however, it is also vital to tackle the broader socioenvironmental
determinants of health. One of the important barriers to a more
holistic approach is a lack of understanding about the principles
of health promotion among GPs, suggesting a significant gap in
their training. Future research should focus on integrating health
promotion into the medical curricula at the undergraduate, graduate
and continuing medical education levels.
In 1986, the World Health Organization (WHO) provided the framework for effective health promotion practice in its Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion (OC) (Table 1).1,2 The central theme of the charter is that health promotion should not just be restricted to modifying individual behaviour, but should also focus on other aspects such as socioenvironmental factors that determine health, thereby empowering people to achieve better control of the determinants of health.
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