The Evidence of Health Promotion Effectiveness

Health Education

ISSN: 0965-4283

Article publication date: 1 April 2000




McKee, M. and Nutbeam, D. (2000), "The Evidence of Health Promotion Effectiveness", Health Education, Vol. 100 No. 2, pp. 88-89.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Another, much more wide ranging, overview of health matters, is provided by this packed text. It is the result of a large, EU‐funded project, which brought together what reads like a roll‐call of the great and the good in the health‐promotion evaluation, carving up between them the daunting task of reviewing international evidence across the whole field. The categories into which the field was carved themselves reflect the way the discipline has moved on in the last few years. As with Balding’s book, the agenda is almost as illuminating as the results. As well as reviews based on disease, such as cancer and heart disease, we also have reviews of work in mental health, out‐of‐school youth, the settings of work and school, and health care sector. There is a case study from Canada, and a final clarion call chapter on equity and health. As with Balding’s book, the agenda is almost as illuminating as the results.

Farming out the fields to serious experts has lead to a welcome air of authority and confidence to each section, as well as providing a refreshing variation of style between offerings. Sadly, the layout and print are crowded and off‐putting, and efforts to guide the reader with a strange set of icons (which resemble alien spacecraft) confuse rather than illuminate: perhaps some tips from those who write the “idiots” guides to computers should have been sought. However, the book is an exemplary effort, being painstaking, thorough, wide‐ranging and principled. Inevitably it is not an easy read, nor is it a layman’s guide – it is a rich resource for those with the interest and patience to seek out definitive answers to difficult and complex questions.

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