Community action for health promotion: a strategy to empower individuals and communities

Int J Health Serv. 1991;21(3):441-56. doi: 10.2190/AKCP-L5A4-MXXQ-DW9K.


Health status is directly affected by environmental conditions and by personal health-related behaviors, and it is indirectly affected by environmental conditions that themselves influence health behaviors. A comprehensive approach to health promotion, therefore, should encourage individuals to adopt and maintain personal behaviors that would prevent disease and promote health; discourage health-damaging personal behaviors by individuals and facilitate people engaging in health-promoting behaviors; and eliminate health hazards from the physical and social environment and make that environment more health-promoting. This comprehensive approach would require social and community action to change environmental conditions as well as efforts to change individual behavior. A model of health promotion interventions is developed within which community action plays a central role. The author then presents a model of community organization to influence public policy to achieve health promotion goals. The community organization model, previously tested in comparative case-study research, is illustrated with examples drawn from appropriate health promotion programs.

MeSH terms

  • Community Health Services / trends*
  • Community Participation*
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Policy / trends
  • Health Promotion / trends*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Power, Psychological
  • San Francisco
  • Social Environment