Health promotion encompasses three key elements to empower individuals to take control of their own health: good governance of health, health literacy, and healthy cities (WHO, 2016). In striving towards this it is vital to employ theory at every step of the program planning process. A theory, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2005), is a “set of concepts, definitions, and propositions that explain or predict … events or situations by illustrating the relationships between variables”. In connection with health promotion, social and behavioral sciences had a major impact in shaping existing theories. During the program planning process, theory is the initial stage that provides tools to aid in understanding health behaviors, designing interventions, and how and what to evaluate those interventions. The USDHHS goes on to illustrate two planning models, social marketing and PRECEDE – PROCEED, that call for initiating the planning process by evaluating the needs of the target audience on a health issue from multi-level perspective prior to designing and taking action. Because every situation is unique and there isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” theory, consistently utilizing theory in program planning process results in the need for and use of a variety of theories to carry out and adapt interventions in order to achieve success with the desired outcomes.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2005). Theory at a Glance: A Guide For Health Promotion Practice. National Institutes of Health.
WHO. (2016, august 20). What is health promotion? Retrieved from World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/what-is-health-promotion
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