The Public Health Law and Municipal Planning



The Public Health Policy of 2011 is built on an expanded and comprehensive understanding of health. It introduces the systematic public health-work as a method for connecting public health and planning in municipalities. The systematic public health-work includes 1) to have information about the health of the population and health-influencing factors, 2) those information as the foundation for the planning strategy, 3) set goal and plan based om the strategy, 4) develop measures/action within and 5) evaluation of the process. The purpose of the study is to gain insight into how the municipalities experience the link between public health and municipal planning through systematic public health-work as a working method.

Research problem:

How is the link between public health and municipal planning experienced through the systematic public health work in the municipality?


The study is based on a case study of two Norwegian municipalities. The methods used for collecting data are qualitative interviews with municipal employees and analysis of documents relevant to the systematic public health-work.


How we consider public health is an important starting point in the municipality’s public health work. The municipalities have established an overview of the population’s health in the municipality which has been the fundament for public health work in the municipalities. The link between public health and municipal planning is perceived differently between the municipalities, and being able to live up to the expectations of the law varies. The results also indicate that measures with effect and evaluation of public health work has been the most challenging part of systematic public health work. There is a need for more political will and awareness among politicians and the organization. Social inequality in health is an important and controversial topic in both municipalities and there are various established measures in both municipalities across sectors. Public health work has been strengthened through established public health forums or groups within the municipality. Keywords: Public Health, municipal planning, systematic public health-work, health in all policy, the Public Health Law.

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