Council calls for broad action on health determinants

EU health ministers call for broad action to tackle lack of physical activity, smoking, unhealthy diets and other ‘societal’ health determinants, as individuals’ capacity to control them is sometimes limited.

EU health ministers adopted, on 30 November 2006, conclusions on Health in All Policies (HiAP) – the main priority of the Finnish EU Presidency in the health sector. 

These conclusions call for “broad societal action to tackle health determinants, in particular unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity, harmful use of alcohol, tobacco and psychosocial stress, since the individual capacity to control these determinants that account for major public health problems, is strongly associated with broader societal determinants of health, for example the level of education and available economic resources”.

Accordingly, the Council invites the Commission to set out a work plan for HiAP and to consider related activities in the future EU health strategy. The member states are invited to undertake, where appropriate, “health-impact assessment of major government policy initiatives with a potential bearing on health”.

The Council also reached a political agreement on the Commission proposal for the EU Health programme 2007-2013, which aligns future EU health action with the overall EU objectives of prosperity, solidarity and security and aims to further exploit synergies with other policies. The proposed total budget for this programme is €324.15 million. 

This programme, which now moves to the Parliament for its second reading, will be part of a broader EU health strategy, a White Paper that is expected to be adopted by the Commission in June 2007.

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