Health promotion in Latvian schools lacks attention due to limited funding and resources: Schools4Health policy mapping

By Schools4Health consortium

The Schools4Health partner in Latvia gathered 17 stakeholders for their roundtable discussion, including two students, whose involvement reflected different perspectives from the adults around them.   

Most respondents indicated that health promotion in state and local government institutions is not given sufficient attention, mainly due to limited funding and human resources and because there are other priorities. As the outcomes of actions aimed at promoting health only become visible over the long run, and politicians want fast and visible results, it’s hard to request the resources needed, the respondents said.

There were mixed responses as to which policies have the most significant impact on health promotion in educational institutions. One-third of respondents noted the importance of regional policies, another third denoted the influential impact of national policies and the final third said that local policies have the greatest influence. 

In regard to nutrition, there are social initiatives in Latvia that offer discounted or free meals to families living in difficult socio-economic conditions. There are also regulations in Latvia to regulate overweight or obese environments and promote healthy living environments in and around schools. 

Additionally, regarding policies that contribute to healthy and less obesogenic environments in and around schools, Latvia, Hungary and the Netherlands all noted that there were policies prohibiting the sale of tobacco and alcohol within a certain distance of schools.

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  

Posted on 20/05/2024 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."