The rapid development of public health and medicine started in the second half of the 19th century leading to a massive decline or disappearance of previously deadly communicable diseases. However, almost parallel to this process, chronic non-communicable diseases appeared and have become widespread in the populations of developed countries presenting a new challenge for public health. 'New public health' and health promotion emerged representing new ways of thinking and approaches as a societal answer to population health problems. The Ottawa Charter, the decisive document of health promotion laid the ground for health promoting activities, naming healthy public policy, supporting environments, community actions, personal skills and and reoriented health services as major fields of action towards improving population health. The article describes examples for these actions and how they are related to health, and provides ideas as to how medical practitioners can contribute to the global common goal of health promotion and medicine.