Active Health Governance—A Conceptual Framework Based on a Narrative Literature Review

Kuili Zhang, Bing Ran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Health policies are regarded as a governance mechanism crucial for reducing health inequity and improving overall health outcomes. Policies that address chronic conditions or health inequity suggest a governance shift toward active health over past decades. However, the current literature in health policy largely focused on some specific health policy changes and their tangible outcomes, or on specific inequality of health policies in gender, age, racial, or economic status, short of comprehensively responding to and addressing the shift. This is exacerbated further by a common confusion that equates health policy with health care policy, which has been burdened by increased population ageing, growing inequalities, rising expenditures, and growing social expectations. This study conducted a narrative literature review to comprehensively and critically analyze the most current knowledge on health policy in order to help us establish a theoretical framework on active health governance. The comprehensive framework proposed in this paper identifies the main elements of a well-defined active health governance and the interactions between these elements. The proposed framework is composed of four elements (governance for health, social determinants of health, lifestyle determinants of health, and health system) and three approaches (whole-of-government approach, whole-of-society approach, and lifespan/life-course approach) that are dynamically interacted to achieve two active health outcomes (health equity and health improvement). The framework provides a conceptual solution to the issues of current literature on health policy and practically serves as a new guide for health policymaking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2289
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


Dive into the research topics of 'Active Health Governance—A Conceptual Framework Based on a Narrative Literature Review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this