City Health Profile

A city health profile is a quantitative and qualitative description of the health of citizens and the factors which influence their health. It identifies problems, proposes areas for improvement and stimulates action. All appropriate sectors work together to collect, analyse, interpret and present the information. Guidance is given on the analysis of data, production of the report and the presentation and communication of the report’s findings. Detailed suggestions are mad efor the contents of a city health profile.

Comprehensive city health profiles represent key products of the Healthy Cities Project. They provide the evidence and the credibility for serious efforts to promote health at the local level. They act as the basis for advocacy, the setting of priorities and accountability for health. Profiles are about the health of people and about the conditions in which they live. They are essential tools for change and thus must be an integral part of local decision-making and strategic planning processes. The preparation of profiles creates unique opportunities for intersectoral work and community and media involvement.

A good profile describes a city and the factors affecting its citizens health in a way that they will instantly recognize and sets out proposals for change taht will generate enthusiasm and energy. It should provide a focus for both community involvement and political support.

A city health profile should:

Summarize health information relevant to the city

Identify health problems in the city

Identify factors that affect health in the city

Identify suggested areas for action to improve health

Act as a stimulus for making health changes in the city

Set targets for achievements related to health

Act as a stimulus for intersectoral action

Identify needs for new data on indicators of health

Inform the public, politicians, professionals and policy-makers

About matters that affect health, in an easily understandable form

All the cities participating in the Healthy Cities movement have committed themselves to improving the health of their citizens. The city health profile is a tool to asist in this work.