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Submitted: 15 Mar 2020
Revision: 23 Jul 2020
Accepted: 24 Jul 2020
ePublished: 07 Nov 2020
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Health Promot Perspect. 2020;10(4): 316-324.
doi: 10.34172/hpp.2020.50
  Abstract View: 74
  PDF Download: 44

Review

School as ideal setting to promote health and wellbeing among young people

Manuela Pulimeno 1,2 ORCID logo, Prisco Piscitelli 1,3* ORCID logo, Salvatore Colazzo 1,4, Annamaria Colao 1,5, Alessandro Miani 6,7

1 UNESCO Chair on Health Education and Sustainable Development, Naples, Italy
2 Doctorate in Human Relations Sciences, University of Bari “Aldo Moro”, Bari, Italy
3 Euro Mediterranean Scientific Biomedical Institute, ISBEM, Bruxelles, Italy
4 Department of History, Society and Human Studies, University of Salento, Lecce, Italy
5 Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, Federico II University School of Medicine, Naples, Italy
6 Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of Milan, Milan, Italy
7 Italian Society of Environmental Medicine, SIMA, Milan, Italy

Abstract

Background: Nowadays, young people face several health challenges. As children and teenagers spend most of their time in the classroom, schools may have the opportunity to positively influence students’ quality of life, playing a crucial role in fostering their health. The aim of this review was to analyze evidence that demonstrated why school is the ideal setting for thepromotion of young generations’ wellbeing.

Methods: We have reviewed the available literature about health promotion in school setting, searching for articles and books published from 1977 to 2020. A total of 74 articles and 17books were selected and assessed.

Results: The promotion of students’ wellbeing could reduce the prevalence of measurable unhealthy outcomes and improve their academic achievements. At least 80% of all cases of heart diseases, strokes, type 2 diabetes and one third of all cancers can be prevented through health education. In this perspective, primary prevention and health promotion should start as early as possible, finding in the school the ideal setting of action. Effective school-based preventive approaches should raise students’ motivation towards a personal interiorization of health knowledge and develop in young people a critical thinking about harmful consequences of the most common risky behaviours. Educators should receive adequate training concerning health topics and become expert in the most innovative approaches to effectively engage students in adopting healthy lifestyles.

Conclusion: As primary educational institution, school should integrate students’ health promotion in its ordinary teaching and learning practices in the perspective of “better health through better schools”.

Keywords: School, Students, Prevention, Health, Education
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