What is school health?

School health refers to health management and health education in schools, including the maintenance and promotion of the health of students, the consideration of health and safety necessary for school educational activities as group education, and the development of abilities to maintain and promote the health of oneself and others. In Japan, various measures of school health are being promoted under the leadership of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) [1]. School health is also considered important in developing countries, and the introduction of the "comprehensive school health" framework is particularly popular.

In 1995, the Global School Health Initiative, proposed by WHO, conceptualized comprehensive school health and developed a strategy based on health promotion called Health Promoting School [2,3]. In 1999, UNICEF proposed the Child Friendly School, which promoted health promotion activities based on the protection of children's rights [4]. In 2000, these strategies were integrated as Focusing Resources on Effective School Health (FRESH), a strategy agreed upon by each development partner. This was done in order to address the problem of efficient use of resources when each organization approached the issue separately based on different philosophies, despite the fact that there were many overlaps in the activities of each organization. Therefore, WHO, UNESCO, UNICEF, and the World Bank discussed and proposed a strategy to consolidate school health resources (human resources, funds, etc.) into activities that are expected to be effective [5].

FRESH integrates four components: 1) policies related to school health, 2) safe water and environment, 3) health education, and 4) school-based health and nutrition services. While the WHO's original Health Promoting School included a separate component called "community linkage", FRESH recognizes that community linkage is important for all four components. Collaboration with the community is expected that the school will be able to transmit policies, environmental improvements, and health education to the community, and conversely, the community will be able to participate in school health activities more effectively and continuously.

Activities that contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) call for universal action to end poverty, protect the planet, and enable all people to enjoy peace and prosperity [6]. School health is expected to contribute to the achievement of four goals, mainly related to both education and health.

Goal 3: Good health and well-being

Goal 4: Quality education

Goal 5: Gender equality

Goal 10: Reduced inequalities