Prevalence of health promotion programs in primary health care units in Brazil

Luiz Roberto Ramos, Deborah Carvalho Malta, Grace Angélica de Oliveira Gomes, Mário M. Bracco, Alex Antonio Florindo, Gregore Iven Mielke, Diana C. Parra, Felipe Lobelo, Eduardo J. Simoes, Pedro Curi Hallal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Assessment of prevalence of health promotion programs in primary health care units within Brazil's health system. METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional descriptive study based on telephone interviews with managers of primary care units. Of a total 42,486 primary health care units listed in the Brazilian Unified Health System directory, 1,600 were randomly selected. Care units from all five Brazilian macroregions were selected proportionally to the number of units in each region. We examined whether any of the following five different types of health promotion programs was available: physical activity; smoking cessation; cessation of alcohol and illicit drug use; healthy eating; and healthy environment. Information was collected on the kinds of activities offered and the status of implementation of the Family Health Strategy at the units. RESULTS: Most units (62.0%) reported having in place three health promotion programs or more and only 3.0% reported having none. Healthy environment (77.0%) and healthy eating (72.0%) programs were the most widely available smoking and alcohol use cessation were reported in 54.0% and 42.0% of the units. Physical activity programs were offered in less than 40.0% of the units and their availability varied greatly nationwide, from 51.0% in the Southeast to as low as 21.0% in the North. The Family Health Strategy was implemented in most units (61.0%); however, they did not offer more health promotion programs than others did. CONCLUSIONS: Our study showed that most primary care units have in place health promotion programs. Public policies are needed to strengthen primary care services and improve training of health providers to meet the goals of the agenda for health promotion in Brazil.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)837-844
Number of pages8
JournalRevista de saude publica
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2014


  • Health centers
  • Health programs and plans
  • Health promotion
  • Health surveys
  • Primary health care


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