Up to 60% of educational institutions in Hungary have adopted health promoting approaches: Schools4Health survey

By Schools4Health consortium

Most of the respondents in the Schools4Health policy-mapping survey and roundtable in Hungary said they were aware that a comprehensive school health programme exists in their country. Some had even contributed to its development and implementation, as the programme was made obligatory in all Hungarian public education institutions from 2016. Teachers, health professionals and school doctors are responsible for its implementation. 

The programme provides a thematic coverage of topics, including healthy nutrition, daily physical education, mental health and health awareness – with topics building on each other every year and allocated according to young people’s needs. Its implementation can happen during teaching hours and/or as part of an afternoon session.

In Hungary, there are laws in place to regulate certain aspects of the programme, such as the ‘healthy buffet programme’, the ‘healthy canteen programme’ and daily physical education. Other aspects can be supported through the uptake of local/national best practices; however, this is done on a voluntary basis. A notable example is the ‘Digital School Health Development toolkit’ best practice, which sets out a methodology and teaching plans on topics such as the digital world, healthy environments, health services, movement, social relationships, a health vision, nutrition, and harmful habits (such as smoking). 

National policies additionally require schools to include a Health Promoting School approach in their action plans although these activities vary from school to school. As such, implementation is school-specific and there are no monitoring systems in place. While around 50-60% of educational institutions have taken up the Health Promoting School approach to varying degrees, the report states that “a stronger emphasis is needed on implementation” with a specific need to strengthen the currently limited possibilities faced by schools at a local level. 

About the Schools4Health mapping of health promoting school policies in the EU
This article is an extract of the Schools4Health ‘Report on policy and practice to strengthen the Health Promoting School approach across the EU’. A key objective of the Schools4Health project is to encourage and enable public authorities and other relevant actors to move from health promotion in schools, towards applying more holistic Health Promoting School approaches. This is supported through the initiative’s policy component, which seeks to raise awareness, mainstream and scale up Health Promoting School approaches among policymakers and practitioners, and to engage them in efforts to integrate this approach in their national/sub-national contexts. It means bringing together different stakeholders in policy and practice, across levels of governance and sectors, to optimise the contribution that schools can make to the health and wellbeing of students, staff, and the wider communities.

As a first step, the Schools4Health consortium focused on scoping the current policy landscape across different participating municipalities, regions and countries influencing or impacting school wellbeing. This was done by identifying and bringing together key actors in the respective partner countries to discuss the broader policy context around health promotion in schools, and identify what is required, from a policy perspective, to introduce or strengthen the implementation of the Health Promoting School model in school settings.

Visit the Schools4Health website to access all resources from the project https://schools4health.eu/  

Posted on 17/05/2024 by Schools4Health consortium

"Project is funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HaDEA). Neither the European Union nor HaDEA can be held responsible for them."