Belgian Presidency supports the School4Health project’s policy seminar

On January 31, EuropeActive participated in the Schools4Health project’s policy seminar in Brussels, an event at the intersection of Education and Health. Funded under the EU4Health programme, the project runs between 2023-2025, and its consortium spans across 13 partner organisations under EuroHealthNet’s lead. 

Schools4Health strives to introduce, strengthen, and sustain the adoption of a participatory whole-of-school approach to health and well-being. School culture and structure have a strong impact on shaping good habits from an early age and play an important role in setting the foundations for a healthy life. Investments in state-of-the-art health-promoting school approaches are a key entry point to cultivating healthier educational and social environments. WHO defines a health-promoting school as one that “is constantly strengthening its capacity as a healthy setting for living, learning and working”. Such approaches not only enable students to develop good habits around nutrition, physical activity, and mental health, but are further part of the solution to interrelated societal challenges such as social inequity and climate change. 

The event gathered experts, policymakers, and other key stakeholders to convey the critical need to invest in health-promoting school approaches and to create enabling policy conditions to do so. It further spotlighted country-level policies on health promotion in schools, presenting key policy insights from Schools4Health partners in Belgium, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovenia, and Spain. 

Thanks to the featured high-level speakers from the Health, Education, and Family sectors, and through discussions around health promotion, healthy environments, healthy nutrition, physical activity, and mental well-being the event made links to the broader EU policy context and identified key tools which can be applied to mobilise health promoting approaches in and around schools.  

Among others, Mr. Goof Buijs, UNESCO Chair of Global Health and Education, Hon. Minister Hilde Crevits, Vice-Minister-President of the Government of Flanders, Flemish Minister for Welfare, Public Health and Family, Mr. Philippe Roux, Acting Director for Public Health Cancer and Health Security Directorate at DG SANTE in the European Commission, and Ms. Oana Felecan, Policy Officer on School Education, Equity, and Well-being at DG Education, Youth, Sport and Culture (European Commission) and, last but not least, Mr. Martin Weber from WHO/Europe shared precious insights and enabled meaningful exchanges with the participants. Beyond supporting this seminar, the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU’s presence stressed its commitment to reinforce the health agenda during its current mandate. 

EuropeActive gladly contributed to the panel “Creating healthy environments in and around schools, with a focus on healthy nutrition and physical activity” emphasising its commitment and actions to promoting healthier and more active lifestyles, most recent of which the #BEACTIVE DAY campaign is successfully enabling individuals across the continent to be active during the European Week of Sport.  

Participants, ranging from NGOs, academia, and policymakers; agreed on the need for a cooperative and cross-sectoral approach that involves teachers, nutritionists, trainers, physiologists, and fitness club owners, to increase the well-being and physical literacy of children. Together with its members, EuropeActive fully supports this goal and strives to continue playing its role to enable a healthier Europe.  


Ilaria Ragni 19 April 2024
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