Sweden, like many other western countries, faces increasing rates of lifestyle related diseases and
corresponding rise in costs for health care. To meet these challenges, a number of efforts have been introduced at
different societal levels. One such effort is “Hälsotorg“ (HS). HS is a new health promotion setting that emerged in
collaboration between the Swedish County Councils and Apoteket AB, a state-owned pharmacy company. HS’s
overall aim was to improve population health and facilitate inhabitants’ responsibility for self-care. A new National
Public Health Policy, introduced in 2008, emphasizes more focus on individual’s needs and responsibility as well as
strong need for county councils to provide supportive environment for individual-centred health services and
increased health literacy among the population. In light of this policy, there is a need to examine existing settings
that can provide supportive environment for individuals at community level. The aim of this study was to explore
HS’s policy implementation at local level and analyse HS’s activities, in order to provide a deeper understanding of
HS’s potential as a health promoting setting.
Methods: Materials included a survey and key documents related to the development and nature of HS on local
and national levels. A policy analysis inspired by Walt and Gilson was used in data analysis. In addition, an analysis
using the principles of health promotion in relation to HS policy process and activities was also carried out.
Results: The analysis illuminated strengths and weaknesses in the policy process, its actors, contextual factors and
activities. The health communication approach in the analysed documents contained health promoting intentions
but the health promoting approach corresponding to a health promoting setting was neither apparent nor shared
among the stakeholders. This influenced the interpretation and implementation of HS negatively.
Conclusions: The analysis indicates that HS has potential to be a valuable health promotion setting for both
population and individuals, given the strong intentions for a health and empowerment building approach that is
expressed in the documents. However, for a more sustainable implementation of HS, there is need for an in- depth
understanding of the health promotion approach among HS stakeholders.