Health promotion and primary prevention in 21 European countries

Andrew F R Barnfield*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


It has been estimated that chronic diseases cost EU economies €115 billion or 0.8% of GDP annually. Approximately 70% to 80% of health care budgets are spent on treating chronic diseases. There is a wealth of knowledge within EU Member States on effective ways to prevent chronic diseases and promote health and wellbeing. There is great potential to reduce the burden by making better use of this knowledge as we know that the majority of chronic diseases can be prevented, or their onset delayed. In order to unlock this knowledge we have compiled health promotion landscape reports from twenty-one European countries involved in the Joint Action CHRODIS PLUS. This paper will present the current actions, policies, and programmes that European countries are currently undertaking in health promotion. It is based on responses to a specially designed questionnaire that asked countries to assess their good practices, identify their gaps and needs, and outline their policy contexts and capacity in relation to health promotion. This paper makes four key conclusions: (1) health promotion across Europe receives limited attention from policy makers; (2) there is a division between medical and social approaches to health and health in all policies needs to be fully implemented more widely in more countries in Europe; (3) there is not enough funding for health promotion; (4) health promotion needs further operationalisation to facilitate easier monitoring and value assessment. The need to develop mechanisms to share information, examples of good practice, and support for capacity development in health promotion and primary prevention is a shared goal across European countries. The Joint Action CHRODIS PLUS will lead the effort in implementing good practices, exploring inter- and intra-sectoral collaboration, and encouraging resilient and better informed investment in health promotion and primary prevention. The country reviews and this paper are a first step in that direction.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberckz185.219
Pages (from-to)84
Number of pages1
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Issue numberSuppl 4
Early online date13 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

The acceptance date for this record is provisional and based upon the month of publication for the article.

Supplement title: 12th European Public Health Conference Building bridges for solidarity and public health Marseille, France 20th–23rd November 2019

Structured keywords

  • SPS Centre for Urban and Public Policy Research


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