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Reinventing public health: A New Perspective on the Health of Canadians and its international impact
  1. Heather MacDougall
  1. Department of History, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
  1. Heather MacDougall, Department of History, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1, Canada; hmacdoug{at}


Study objective: To examine the Canadian origins of the Lalonde Report and its impact on British and American health promotion activities. Design: A brief history of the development of key Canadian documents and their use by politicians and public health activists in the United Kingdom and United States. Setting: This paper focuses on the impact of the Canadian model on Canada, the United Kingdom and United States. Main results: This paper argues that internal political and economic forces are as important as international trends in determining healthcare policy initiatives. Conclusions: In the 1970s all the English-speaking developed nations were facing deficits as curative costs rose. Adopting health promotion policies permitted them to shift responsibility back to local governments and individuals while limiting their expenditures. Health and community activists, however, used this concept to broaden their focus to include the social, economic and political determinants of health and thus reinvented public health discourse and practice for the 21st century.

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  • Competing interests: None declared.

  • Abbreviations:
    National Health Service
    World Health Organisation

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