Chronic diseases and health promotion

Part Four - Taking action: essential steps for success

Chapter One: Providing a unifying framework - the role of government

Workplaces. Spotlight: China

Workplaces provide unique points of access for interventions to reduce chronic disease risk factors and promote effective management of chronic conditions. A detailed analysis of workplace roles and functions is presented in the following chapter, in the section addressing the private sector.

Spotlight: School-based projects in China

Since 1995, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education in China have been collaborating with other domestic agencies and WHO to foster the concept of the “health-promoting school” as a means of improving health.

In Zhejiang Province, unhealthy diet is a major cause of both undernutrition and obesity among school-age children. In 2000, a health-promoting school project to improve nutrition was launched by the Provincial Education Commission and the Health Education Institute of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The education sector was responsible for the management of schools, including improvements to the school environment as well as to the school health education curriculum. The health sector was responsible for issuing and supervising public health guidelines, monitoring the prevalence of disease, and prevention measures.

Zhejiang Province’s health-promoting school project improved nutrition among 7500 students and their families and 800 teachers and school staff personnel. It actively engaged the target groups in planning, implementing and evaluating the interventions. Survey results revealed improvements in nutrition knowledge, attitudes and behaviour among all target groups (Xia SC, Zhang XW, Xu SY, Tang SM, Yu SH, Aldinger C et al. Creating health-promoting schools in China with a focus on nutrition. Health Promotion International, 2004, 19:409–418. Glasauer P, Aldinger C, Yu SH, Xia SC, Tang SM. Nutrition as an entry point for health-promoting schools: lessons from China. Food, Nutrition and Agriculture, 2003, 33:27–33.)