The conditions in the places we live, work, and play have consequences for our health. Regardless of the neighbourhood we live in, it’s important we all have the opportunity to live in healthy environments.
Our neighbourhoods and communities can be designed and shaped so that they promote and protect health. Healthy places and healthy communities help create healthy people. However, this doesn’t happen by default.
The places where we live our lives are shaped by the policies and plans that local government puts in place. Health in all Policies is about shaping those policies and plans in a way that considers the impact on the health of communities. It integrates health considerations into decision making.
Our most common diseases in New Zealand are largely preventable. Over a lifetime, the biggest influences on our health are not the services that are available when we go to see the doctor. The biggest influences are the social, economic, and built environments in which we live.
Health in All Policies is based on building strong partnerships and collaboration between health, local government, and iwi to address the factors outside the health system that create disease.
Health in All Policies is an internationally recognised and widely used approach that builds on a long history of collaborative approaches to build healthy public policy. It has been used in various cities throughout New Zealand, but is most firmly established in Canterbury (www.cph.co.nz/your-health/health-in-all-policies).
Public Health South is exploring options and approaches with local government for working within a Health in All Policies framework. Our aim with this work is to support environments that promote health in all of our communities, so every one of us has the opportunity to enjoy good health.