Health promotion and evaluation - a programmatic approach

Swerissen, Hal, Duckett, Stephen J., Daly, Jeanne, Bergen, Kate, Marshall, Sandra, Borthwick, Chris and Crisp, Beth 2001, Health promotion and evaluation - a programmatic approach, Health promotion journal of Australia, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 1-28.

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Title Health promotion and evaluation - a programmatic approach
Author(s) Swerissen, Hal
Duckett, Stephen J.
Daly, Jeanne
Bergen, Kate
Marshall, Sandra
Borthwick, Chris
Crisp, BethORCID iD for Crisp, Beth
Journal name Health promotion journal of Australia
Volume number 11
Issue number 1
Start page 1
End page 28
Publisher Australian Health Promotion Association
Place of publication West Perth, W.A.
Publication date 2001
ISSN 1036-1073
Summary Health promotion has evolved significantly in the past twenty years. Its emphasis has shifted from relatively simple monocausal models focused on behavioural risk factors to a greater emphasis on broader social determinants of health. Single method, single risk factor interventions have increasingly been replaced with multiformat, multiple risk factor interventions and extended campaigns, with whole-of-govemment implications. Health promotion structures have developed from ad hoc single shot activity to large dedicated agencies with continuing responsibilities and a wide ambit.

The development of health promotion research and evaluation has followed these trends. The early epidemiology studies linked behavioural risks such as smoking, diet and physical activity with systemic conditions such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. A raft of small and large scale intervention studies aimed at demonstrating that these behavioural risk factors could be modified and that modification would lead to improved health outcomes followed with mixed results.

More recent evidence suggests that behavioural risks are not the onIy social factors that influence health outcomes. There is now strong evidence that social determinants such as income, education and employment have highly significant direct effects on health outcomes, which are not mediated by behavioural risks, and that behavioural risks are also correlated with these broader determinants.

Health promotion now operates in a variety of ways at different scales and different levels of the health system (and the wider social system). The goals of health promotion, and the measures that assess whether a project, campaign, or general strategy has met its goals, differ accordingly.

Arguably, where local, state and federal governments begin to coordinate their efforts systematically across settings, intervention strategies, health action areas and population groups, health promotion becomes more
programmatic, sustainable and effective. A programmatic approach also integrates knowledge generation, the development of health promotion capacity, practice and evaluation together.

However, programmatic approaches to health promotion are comparatively new. Only recently have governments begun to develop and resource
comprehensive and sustained health promotion programs that address a range of health issues using multiple intervention strategies. The scope of a more programmatic approach and its functions and purposes is still developing.

Although evaluation has a key role to play in this respect, the development of programmatic strategies for health promotion has generally outpaced evaluation theory and practice. While we now have reasonable technologies for measurement of behavioural risks and individual attitudinal and cognitive influences on them, strategies to evaluate organisational and community interventions are still emerging.

Similarly, while new approaches to evaluate small scale community and organisational interventions have been developed, comprehensive models to monitor and evaluate health promotion programs and strategies across multiple intervention sites over extended periods have not yet emerged. Nor have we resolved the methodological problems of teasing out the relative contribution of different intervention strategies to observed change in health outcomes.

More programmatic approaches to health promotion require a more programmatic approach to health promotion evaluation. This paper represents an issues based examination of the evidence base for a more programmatic health promotion and the evaluation issues that arise
Language eng
Field of Research 111712 Health Promotion
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2008, RMIT Publishing
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