The new pan-European 'Schools4Health' initiative kicked off in Seville this month, where partners and authorities from Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, Hungary, Greece, Slovenia, Romania, Latvia, and Spain gathered to mark its launch.
Co-financed by the European Union’s EU4Health programme, Schools4Health (2023-2026) aims to introduce, strengthen, and sustain the adoption of a health promoting school (HPS) approach and other whole school approaches to health. It will engage 16 schools across the EU with special consideration to school settings in deprived areas.
Overall, Schools4Health will explore and demonstrate how different sectors, particularly the education and health sectors, can work together to encourage and enable students, teachers, school staff, parents, as well as other stakeholders to turn schools into 'health promoting schools', facilitating healthier lifestyles for all, especially for those living in or facing vulnerable circumstances.
In doing so, partners will analyse, transfer, implement and evaluate specific best practices in the fields of healthy nutrition, physical activity, and mental health, supporting the overall HPS approach. Such efforts will additionally demonstrate how health promoting schools and other ‘whole-of-school’ approaches to health not only put children and adolescents on the path to healthier lifestyles, but also improve educational outcomes and literacy in health, helping to address interrelated societal challenges such as social equity, climate change and environmental degradation.
The initiative is coordinated by EuroHealthNet, with the participation of partners from public health institutes and departments, as well as international networks, such as the Schools for Health in Europe Network Foundation, UNESCO Chair Global Health and Education and the International Sport and Culture Association. This 13-partner consortium represents vast expertise in the fields of school health and health promotion, with experience working with local/regional/national authorities and school settings to promote healthy school environments.
By establishing safe and healthy educational environments, especially for those in vulnerable situations, we can help to ensure all children and adolescents have a fair start in life, empowering them through healthier lifestyles, better educational outcomes whilst addressing societal challenges they face today and will face in the future.
The project’s multi-sectoral setting provides a prime opportunity to work with a wide range of experts who are at the forefront of driving the conversation on children’s health. By bringing together our vast range of expertise, we can collectively support the promotion of school health and health promotion across Europe through ‘health-promoting schools.’
– Caroline Costongs, Director at EuroHealthNet