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Submitted: 15 Mar 2020
Revision: 23 Jul 2020
Accepted: 24 Jul 2020
ePublished: 12 Oct 2020
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  Abstract View: 12

Review

School as Ideal Setting to Promote Health and Wellbeing among Young People

Manuela Pulimeno ORCID logo, PRISCO PISCITELLI* ORCID logo, Salvatore Colazzo, Annamaria Colao, Alessandro Miani

Abstract

Background: Young people face several health challenges. Among those, overweight and obesity in paediatric population represent serious public health threats, while many adolescents experience risky behaviours more and more early (i.e. smoke/alcohol/drug addictions etc.). As children 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 is to analyze evidence that demonstrate why school is the ideal setting for the promotion of young generations’ wellbeing. Methods: We have reviewed the available literature searching for original articles published from 1977 to 2020 addressing the issue of health promotion in school setting. A total of 74 articles and 17 books were selected. Results: The promotion of students’ wellbeing could reduce the prevalence of measurable unhealthy outcomes and - at the same time - improve their academic achievements. Specifically, 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 healthy lifestyles in order to generate a personal interiorization of health knowledge in young people, and developing 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 convey health knowledge among students, and engage them in adopting healthy lifestyles. Conclusion: As primary educational institution, school should integrate students’ health promotion in its ordinary teaching and learning practices through a specific revision of curricula in the perspective of “better health through better schools”.
Keywords: School;, Wellbeing;, Health Promotion;, Primary Prevention;, Students;, Education
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