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The Question of Evidence in Health Promotion

Prepared originally for the Prairie Region Health Promotion Summer School 1999.

Summary: Health promoters require credible evidence to identify relevant determinants of health, choose activities to promote health, and then evaluate the effectiveness of these chosen activities. The issue of evidence in health promotion is a complex one that requires critical examination of what is meant by health promotion, the focus of health promotion activities, and the ideological issues and principles that inform health promotion practice. It is argued that health promoters should be explicit about the principles and values behind their health promotion activities and consider how ideology, principles, values, and data interact to produce evidence.