As settings‐based health promotion has gained ascendancy within the field, there has been increased interest in applying the approach within a diversity of contexts, one of the most recent being higher education. The University of Central Lancashire became one of the first few universities in Europe to establish a Health Promoting University initiative when it appointed a co‐ordinator in 1995. This article critically discusses the emergence of the settings‐based approach to health promotion and its application to the higher education sector. Focusing on the University of Central Lancashire as a case study, it considers the development of Health Promoting Universities. It is argued that while the settings‐based approach still faces the challenge of establishing clarity and consistency, the Health Promoting University does have the potential to provide a robust conceptual framework that can enable the practical development and implementation of an holistic, comprehensive and integrative approach to promoting health. The article ends with some reflections on challenges, opportunities and future directions.
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