Comprehensive School Health

The comprehensive school health approach to health promotion at school gives students numerous opportunities to observe and learn about positive, healthy behaviours and influence healthy decision-making.

Health-promoting actions have important educational benefits. The links between health and well-being of students and their capacity to benefit from educational opportunities and attain high standards of achievement are well-established.

Data associated with current school-aged population has raised increasing concern for increased physical inactivity, an increase in the percentage of overweight and obese youth, and decreased emotional wellness (increased depression and anxiety) among today’s youth.

By undertaking a comprehensive school health approach, a school can positively influence levels of physical activity and healthy eating, promote healthy relationships and healthy practices, all of which can significantly reduce preventable illnesses, promote optimal health while contributing to responsible citizenship and caring communities.

The extent to which a nation’s schools become health-promoting will play a significant role in determining whether the next generation is educated and healthy.

- World Health Organization

Comprehensive school health is an internationally recognized framework for supporting improvements in students’ educational outcomes while addressing school health in a planned, integrated and holistic way.  It is not just about what happens in the classroom. Rather, it encompasses the whole school environment with actions addressing four distinct but inter-related pillars that provide a strong foundation for comprehensive school health:

  • teaching and learning;
  • social and physical environment;
  • healthy school policy; and
  • partnerships and services

When actions in all four pillars are harmonized, students are supported to realize their full potential as learners – and as healthy, productive members of society.

Joint Consortium for School Health (JCSH)