What Is Health Promotion?

Lauryn Page

What is health promotion?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), health promotion is the process of enabling people to increase control over and improve their health. Using behavioral science influenced by the biological, psychological, and medical, health promotion educates individuals to prevent disease, disability, and premature death. 

What is workforce health promotion?

Workplace health promotion, also called worksite health promotion, refers to the programs and policies designed to better the overall health of employees. Workplace health promotion focuses on the prevention of health risks by providing benefits, environmental support, and education to the community to meet the safety and needs of employees. Company health educators coordinate employee counseling, education services, health risk appraisals, and screenings with programs carefully designed to assist with:

  • weight control
  • nutrition 
  • substance abuse prevention
  • physical fitness 
  • smoking cessation
  • stress management

Health promotion research: the benefits of physical activity

For over 25 years, American Journal of Health Promotion (AJHP) has been a valuable resource for the field of health promotion and wellness by providing improved knowledge and science. The Art of Health Promotion is one such tool published by the AJHP that features information on developing and maintaining a health promotion program and why they are necessary. In 2012, The Art of Health Promotion1  detailed findings from meta-evaluations of economic studies of worksite health promotion programs. Previous newsletters in 2003 and 2005 examined peer-reviewed journal articles and increased the amount of articles to 62 in 2012.

The meta-evaluation details an average of 50% reductions in sick leave, health plan costs, and workers’ compensation or disability costs. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), physical activity is linked to a variety of health improvements and is one of the most effective disease prevention behaviors. Physical activity can reduce obesity, feelings of depression and anxiety, and chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and type II diabetes. Physical activity can also improve stamina, strength, and energy. 

The benefits of a workplace health promotion program are far-reaching for employers and employees. In addition to a safe and healthy work environment, employees experience improved morale and health, stress reduction, and increased job satisfaction. Employers benefit from  decreased staff turnover and absenteeism, increased productivity, and reduced health and insurance costs.


[1]Chapman, L. S. (2012). Meta-Evaluation of Worksite Health Promotion Economic Return Studies: 2012 Update. American Journal of Health Promotion, 26(4).