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Health Promotion

Health Promotion

The Ottawa Charter (WHO) defined health promotion as a method to enable individuals and populations to take control over their health and determinants of health. Although the Ottawa Charter has been further elaborated by declarations and charters at follow-up conferences, the key areas are still relevant for research, practice, policy and education.

Some essential questions in this context which we work with in the Unit for Health Promotion Research are:

  • Which individual, social and societal determinants need to be targeted to help people take control over their health?
  • Which intervention programs are most effective in achieving change for which population groups?
  • Under which conditions can health promotion programs be effective? 


We aim to carry out research in the 5 key areas defined by the Ottawa Charter:

  • build healthy public policy
  • create supportive environments for health
  • strengthen community action for health
  • develop personal skills, and
  • re-orient health services

To learn more about our research areas, click here,   more about our research projects, click here, more about our  PhD projects, click here.

To read more about the Unit's research publications, click here

The research unit is on Twitter: @sundhedsfremme 


The Unit for Health Promotion Research is responsible for the Master of Science Program in Public Health at SDU, Campus Esbjerg and co-responsible (together with the National Institute for Public Health) for the Bachelor of Public Health Program, SDU, Campus Odense. Our staff teach on both programs as well as on the PhD level.

To learn more about the Bachelor of Public Health, please click here.

To learn more about the Master of Public Health, please click here.


The Unit staff combine expertise and competences from a wide range of disciplines and from different countries. In particular, we have strong expertise in the areas of: 

  • health needs assessment of in diverse communities and groups;
  • development of tailored health profiles in communities with consequent policy implementation guidance;
  • health impact assessment and health risk communication.

Our academic competences derive from a wide variety of disciplines, mainly: epidemiology, psychology, medicine, sociology,  political sciences, health services research and environmental health.

To learn more about the staff members, click here.

Research networks

The Unit is a member of many national and international networks and organisations within the area of public health and health promotion among them for instance; The International Union for Health Promotion and Education – IUHPE,  The Danish Society for Public Health (DSFF), The European Public Health Association (EUPHA), The Danish Implementation Network (DIN), The Nordic Health Promotion Research Network (nhprn).

Our vision

Within the framework provided by the Ottawa Charter we aim

  • to conduct multidisciplinary health promotion and prevention research emphasizing that health promotion is a social / organizational and not just an individual responsibility
  • to provide high-quality public health education on the bachelor, master and doctoral level
  • to participate in knowledge sharing with municipalities, institutions, hospitals and regions on planning, implementation and evaluation of health promotion efforts


Health Promotion combines different research methods, both quantitative and qualitative, and encourages use of mixed methods.

Quantitative methods 

Beyond standard epidemiological, behavioral and sociological research methods we particularly focus on the use of e.g.  

  • Health profiles
  • New technologies for data collection (smartphone app, big data)
  • Register-based analyses
  • Advanced statistical methods such as multi-level analysis and meta-analysis

Qualitative methods 

Beyond standard sociological, ethnographical and social science research methods we particularly focus on the use of e.g.:
Individual and focus group interviews

  • Delphi-surveys
  • Observation techniques and field work
  • Different types of document analyses