Prof. Kevin Dadaczynski

Fulda University of Applied Sciences, Leuphana University Lueneburg, Germany

Keynote Speech: Healthy Schools, Healthy Students: Advances and Challenges in Health Education and School Health Promotion

Biography:

Professor, Fulda University of Applied Sciences, Leuphana University Lueneburg, Germany

Prof. Kevin Dadaczynski is full professor at the Public Health Centre Fulda of Fulda University of Applied Science. His research focus is on health promotion and education with special interest on educational settings, digital health and health literacy. He is involved as principal investigator and coordinator in national and international projects on school health promotion (e.g. evaluation of complex and holistic interventions on health promoting schools, Health Behaviour in School Aged-Children Study, HBSC) and health literacy (e.g. COVID-HL Survey, digital health literacy of pupils). He formerly held positions at the German Federal Center for Health Education, Leuphana Univeristy Lueneburg and Flensburg University.

Abstract:

Around 41% of the world's population is 24 years of age or younger, representing a total 3.31 billion young people (United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, 2019). Although duration of compulsory education differs substantially across countries worldwide, schools are a setting that play a significant role in the daily lives of young people. Schools are ideal places to support young people in their healthy development and to empower them to take responsibility for their own health and that of their environment. In this context, holistic approaches that focus on different topics, target groups (students, teaching and non-teaching school staff, parents) and levels within and outside of the school are considered to be particularly promising. However, the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically impacted schools, resulting - amongst other consequences - in school closures that lasted from 6 weeks (Iceland) and 82 weeks (India) (UNESCO, 2022). Given this background, it is not surprising that emerging evidence suggest the COVID-19 pandemic is a disruptive event for schools, impeding the implementation of holistic activities on health promotion and prevention (Dadaczynski et al., 2022). By contrast, an increasing number of studies report an increase in health-related problems among students and school staff, indicating a greater need for health promotion activities in schools. Notably, the most vulnerable children and adolescents (e.g., those with low socioeconomic backgrounds) are the most affected, thus widening health inequalities. The purpose of this presentation is to introduce current challenges and needs in school health promotion as a strategy for societal recovery and resurgence. Special attention will be given to health literacy as an emerging public health issue, including considerations of how to integrate health literacy into the holistic Health Promoting School approach.

Abstract

Prof. Kevin Dadaczynski

Around 41% of the world's population is 24 years of age or younger, representing a total 3.31 billion young people (United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, 2019). Although duration of compulsory education differs substantially across countries worldwide, schools are a setting that play a significant role in the daily lives of young people. Schools are ideal places to support young people in their healthy development and to empower them to take responsibility for their own health and that of their environment. In this context, holistic approaches that focus on different topics, target groups (students, teaching and non-teaching school staff, parents) and levels within and outside of the school are considered to be particularly promising. However, the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically impacted schools, resulting - amongst other consequences - in school closures that lasted from 6 weeks (Iceland) and 82 weeks (India) (UNESCO, 2022). Given this background, it is not surprising that emerging evidence suggest the COVID-19 pandemic is a disruptive event for schools, impeding the implementation of holistic activities on health promotion and prevention (Dadaczynski et al., 2022). By contrast, an increasing number of studies report an increase in health-related problems among students and school staff, indicating a greater need for health promotion activities in schools. Notably, the most vulnerable children and adolescents (e.g., those with low socioeconomic backgrounds) are the most affected, thus widening health inequalities. The purpose of this presentation is to introduce current challenges and needs in school health promotion as a strategy for societal recovery and resurgence. Special attention will be given to health literacy as an emerging public health issue, including considerations of how to integrate health literacy into the holistic Health Promoting School approach.