In July 1992, the British government published its White Paper ‘The Health of the Nation, a Strategy for Health in England’ (HON). The authors contend that this initiative has largely been accepted by the nursing profession with critical responses to the HON being minimal.

The authors argue that the medicalized negative interpretation of health and the narrow individualistic lifestyle-orientated definition of health promotion contained within the strategy ought to be rejected by nurses in favour of both a positive, holistic conception of health and a more humanistic health promotion methodology acknowledging the impact of structural-material factors influencing individual health related behaviour.