Infections that last

August 2009


Health promotion in Australian general practice

A gap in GP training

Volume 38, No.8, August 2009 Pages 605-608

Amit Achhra


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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