What is a national health policy?

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23 Scopus citations


Unfortunately, most nation states have taken "health policy" to mean "medical care policy." Medical care, however, is only one variable in a nation's health equation. The article describes what the main components of a national health policy should be, including (1) the political, economic, social, and cultural determinants of health, the most important determinants of health in any country; (2) the lifestyle determinants, which have been the most visible types of public interventions; and (3) the socializing and empowering determinants, which link the first and second components of a national health policy: the individual interventions and the collective interventions. The author discusses the indicators that should be used for each component and for each intervention. The feasibility of this approach depends to a large degree on the political will of the national authorities and the broad understanding of the actual determinants of health. A good first step is the National Health Policy plan developed by the Swedish social democratic government. This article builds on and expands on that model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Health Services
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 20 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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