Health in All Policies (HiAP) is a policy strategy, which targets the key social determinants of health through integrated policy response across relevant policy areas with the ultimate goal of supporting health equity. The HiAP approach is thus closely related to concepts such as ‘inter-sectoral action for health’, ‘healthy public policy’ and ‘whole-of-government approach‘.
The rationale behind HiAP is that health is influenced by social, environmental and economic factors, which lay beyond the realm of the health sector. Such factors and processes act as determinants of health by influencing the underlying conditions to an individual’s life situation. (Source)
In order to effectively influence population health, it is thus crucial to target these root causes within a broader societal perspective. In practice this means integrating health considerations into a broader range of related policy areas, such as employment, education and social policy. Similarly, it means addressing policies and strategies at all levels of governance, including European, national, regional and local levels. (Source)
The effective use of the HiAP approach relies strongly on Health Impact Assessments (HIAs). More information about HIAs can be found here.
Within the EU context the concept of HiAP was brought forward during the Finnish EU Presidency in 2006 – more information about the Finnish Presidency can be found on this page. The value of the HiAP approach is now widely recognized, and the EU Treaty obliges all EU policies to adhere to the HiAP approach.
Consequently, health is extensively incorporated into relevant EU policy areas, predominantly within social and regional policy, taxation, environment, education and research. Examples of such polices can be found in the Policy database.
Additionally, a range of EU agencies is in place, such as the European Environmental Agency (EEA) and the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) which missions explicitly center on health. (Source)
Global recognition of the HiAP approach was in 2010 signalled by the WHO Adelaide Statement on HiAP. The Statement sets out the rationale for the HiAP approach, identifies some of its drivers and mechanisms, and discusses the role the health sector will play.
According to WHO: “The Adelaide Statement introduces a strategic approach for governments to take when setting policies – an approach that emphasizes collaboration across government agencies, so that all sectors can reap the benefits of a healthy society”.
The ‘Crossing Bridges’ project – funded by the EU Health Programme – aimed to advance the implementation of Health in all Policies (HiAP) approaches in EU Member States.It contributed to the development of practical tools that are required to turn HiAP theory into practice, and to make progress on the implementation of HiAP in Europe.
It carried out two different strands of work that build on one another. Firstly it investigated specific examples of inter-sectoral collaboration to determine what methodologies can be drawn out and developed. Secondly, the project developed the capacities of national and regional Institutes for Public Health to implement HiAP. An assessment to analyse needs and existing practice was undertaken, and an interactive training workshop developed for partners and national trainers on the basis of the outcomes of the assessments and incorporating the methodologies developed.
More information about the Crossing Bridges project and its outputs can be found here.
- Health in All Policies: Prospects and potentials. Finnish EU Presidency (2006), published by the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, under the auspices of the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies. ISBN 952-00-1964-2