Thanks to the media and the likes of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, the state of our children's health has become an emotive issue. Indeed the current generation of young people are predicted to be the first in history with a lower life expectancy than their parents.
The state of our health is related not only to our long-term physical well-being but also to emotional and social factors – our general happiness, confidence and outlook on life. There is also a clear relationship between health and educational attainment. Poor health deters educational success and educational achievement strongly affects social and economic prospects, and choices about health.
A survey by Department of Health, published in 2017, shows:
In order to be healthy, children and young people ideally need a family, a home, a school, some friends, somewhere to play, a future and access to treatment and support services. Schools play a significant role in delivering these outcomes. It has been estimated that children spend on average 15,000 hours at school. School years are an impressionable period in the lives of young people and most pupils will, at some stage, be subjected to a range of social pressures that may affect their health, from bullying and the stress of exams to peer pressure and experimenting with smoking or drugs.
Schools are key to promoting the health and well-being of young people and the wider community in the following ways. They can:
The Case Studies section provides details of how Eco-Schools promote a healthy lifestyle. The Resources section includes details of a range of organisations that can offer your school help on healthy lifestyle issues.