BlessWorld Foundation International

Affecting the World Through Health
A Global Health Initiative

School and Youth Health Promotion- Effective School Health Programs



Public Health Ontario (PHO) describes Health Promotion as the procedure or means of developing and implementing a broad variety of social, health, behavioral and environmental interventions that encourage change of attitudes or actions, create supportive or enabling environments and advocate healthy public policies. The purpose of health promotion is to empower and enable people to gain or increase control over their lives, so as to improve their health.  Health promotion interventions typically occur in settings such as schools, hospitals, workplace and communities with partnership and capacity building across multiple stakeholders, sectors and organizations. Compared to clinical health, health promotion focuses beyond the care and treatment of patients and individuals. It consists of a wider range of social and environmental interventions addressing prevention of disease and protection of health across populations.

School and youth health promotion- as the name illustrates, are means of ensuring health and behavior-change interventions are carried out in schools and specifically targeting youths. The rationale of promoting health in schools is that schooling happens at the crucial age of childhood and adolescence where personal character, skills, attitude, physique and behavior are developed. Schools play significant roles in health education and promotion at the most crucial, addressing health, social, educational, psychological needs of children. A team made up of parents, teachers, administrators, students and health professionals should be formed and trained to develop values, activities and new direction for health education and promotion in schools. Health promoting schools (HPS) are schools that consistently strive to strengthen their capacity to promote and enable healthy living, learning and working conditions through education, program development and service provision. HPS promotes physical, emotional and intellectual development of students through healthy and hygienic practices. Making schools an environment for health promotion is an effective approach for early prevention of non- communicable disease risk factors.

HPS is a World Health Organization (WHO) Global School Health Initiative with the aim of strengthening health promotion and education activities at every level- locally and internationally. Important factors involved in effective HPS include health policies, physical and social environment, community involvement, healthy skills development and health service provision. School and youth health promotion provide an important opportunity to empower young people to make informed choices regarding their health behaviors such as tobacco and substance use, risky behaviors, alcohol use, dietary and hygienic practices, sedentary lifestyle, sexual activities and physical activity.

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