School and youth health

What is a health promoting school?

A health promoting school is one that constantly strengthens its capacity as a healthy setting for living, learning and working.

A health promoting school:

  • Fosters health and learning with all the measures at its disposal.
  • Engages health and education officials, teachers, teachers' unions, students, parents, health providers and community leaders in efforts to make the school a healthy place.
  • Strives to provide a healthy environment, school health education, and school health services along with school/community projects and outreach, health promotion programmes for staff, nutrition and food safety programmes, opportunities for physical education and recreation, and programmes for counselling, social support and mental health promotion.
  • Implements policies and practices that respect an individual's well being and dignity, provide multiple opportunities for success, and acknowledge good efforts and intentions as well as personal achievements.
  • Strives to improve the health of school personnel, families and community members as well as pupils; and works with community leaders to help them understand how the community contributes to, or undermines, health and education.

Health promoting schools focus on:

  • Caring for oneself and others
  • Making healthy decisions and taking control over life's circumstances
  • Creating conditions that are conducive to health (through policies, services, physical / social conditions)
  • Building capacities for peace, shelter, education, food, income, a stable ecosystem, equity, social justice, sustainable development.
  • Preventing leading causes of death, disease and disability: helminths, tobacco use, HIV/AIDS/STDs, sedentary lifestyle, drugs and alcohol, violence and injuries, unhealthy nutrition.
  • Influencing health-related behaviours: knowledge, beliefs, skills, attitudes, values, support.
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