What is meant by health promotion at school?

from: SHE Schools for health in Europe, Online handbook for schools

School health promotion can be described as 'any activity undertaken to improve and/or protect the health of everyone in the school community'.

Health promotion in school includes both the health education taught in class and all the efforts dedicated to creating an environment, school policies and an educational curriculum oriented towards health promotion itself.

A health promoting school takes a comprehensive approach. It is much more than a school that promotes health activities. It promotes health and well-being in a systematic and integrated way and uses written planning and policies. A health promoting school is oriented towards action and participation; the whole school community, including students, teachers, non-teaching staff and parents, take an active role in decision-making and initiatives. The school aims at capacity building which is connected to the development of knowledge, skills and the involvement of the whole school community in promoting health and well-being.

Why is it important to promote health in schools?

Health and education are interconnected:

  • Healthy young people have greater learning abilities and better school participation.
  • Young people who go to school enjoy good health more easily.
  • Students who have a positive bond with their school and with caregivers tend to have positive academic results and are less likely to engage in risky behaviour.
  • Academic success is positively correlated with both good health and economic well-being in later life.
  • Promoting the health and well-being of school staff promotes job satisfaction and reduces absenteeism.
  • By actively promoting both their own health and that of their students, school staff will have the opportunity to become positive role models.

Therefore, by promoting health in your school, you can both achieve educational, social and professional goals and influence the health of the whole school community