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World Health Day 2019: A whole-school approach to healthy living

by | Apr 3, 2019 | News, Vending Machines

Today, the school environment is about much more than education alone. With growing emphasis on student health and well-being, schools are being tasked with leading by example.

With World Health Day taking place on 7 April, this blog will discuss how your school can adopt a holistic approach to healthy living which will boost student grades and safeguard their futures.

What is World Health Day?

World Health Day is an annual international health-awareness day, and it’s sponsored by the World Health Organisation (WHO), amongst others.

Millions of people around the world today have no access to healthcare or are forced to choose between healthcare and other daily costs, like food. Achieving full coverage of essential health services around the world is the main goal of the WHO and this is the theme of World Health Day 2019.

How can my school support World Health Day?

Kids and young adults spend most of their early lives in the school environment. So, from a student health point of view, it makes sense that schools support a healthy lifestyle.

Attitudes and habits take root in our formative years, so the sooner your young folks get into healthy routines, the better. Healthy kids achieve better results too, so it’s really a no-brainer!

What steps can schools consider to promote student health?

The traditional approach to health education in schools has been to promote health messages (like not smoking) through the curriculum, with pretty average results.

Recognising this, the WHO put forward a holistic ‘health-promoting schools’ (or HPS) approach in the 1980s. This whole-school approach to student health contained some awesome ideas that are still very relevant today!

The HPS approach emphasised the following:

  • A formal health curriculum: Health education topics given time within the school curriculum, so students develop the knowledge, attitudes and skills needed to make healthy choices.
  • School ethos and environment: Promotion of health and well-being through the ‘informal’ school curriculum. Examples might include healthier food in school canteens/vending machines or setting up peer/buddying systems to reduce bullying.  Keeping students well-hydrated and selecting lighting that’s conducive to classroom work are also key areas that would fall under this category today.
  • Family/community engagement: Schools engaging with families and the community on health-related topics. Examples might include setting ‘family homework’ assignments to raise awareness of health at home or asking local sports clubs to speak to students to encourage participation in activities.

More recently, ‘healthy schools teams’ have started to pop up around the country; designed to provide additional support, resources and training for health-related topics.

These teams aim to support schools in raising levels of attainment and achievement by improving student health and well-being. They help schools with topics like physical, social, health and economic education (PSHE), sex education, nutrition and mental health.

How can these approaches benefit students?

School-based health programmes are amongst the most cost-effective public health interventions; promoting learning and reducing absenteeism at the same time.

Improving student health will not only boost their academic performance, but it will set them up for healthier lives tomorrow.

Utility Rentals has a range of solutions to help your school promote better student health.

So, support World Health Day and give your students a healthy start with a little help from Utility Rentals!

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