School and youth health

School health and youth health promotion

Effective school health programmes

HIV education in a school in Africa
HIV education in a school in Africa

An effective school health programme can be one of the most cost effective investments a nation can make to simultaneously improve education and health. WHO promotes school health programmes as a strategic means to prevent important health risks among youth and to engage the education sector in efforts to change the educational, social, economic and political conditions that affect risk.

WHO global school health initiative strategies

WHO's Global School Health Initiative seeks to mobilise and strengthen health promotion and education activities at the local, national, regional and global levels.


Worldwide, 5% of all deaths of young people between the ages of 15 and 29 are attributable to alcohol use. In some countries, up to 60% of all new HIV infections occur among 15-24 year olds.

Preventing leading causes of premature death, disease and disability

Many of today's and tomorrow's leading causes of death, disease and disability (cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic lung diseases, depression, violence, substance abuse, injuries, nutritional deficiencies, HIV/AIDS/STI and helminth infections) can be significantly reduced by preventing six interrelated categories of behaviour, that are initiated during youth and fostered by social and political policies and conditions:

  • tobacco use
  • behaviour that results in injury and violence
  • alcohol and substance use
  • dietary and hygienic practices that cause disease
  • sedentary lifestyle
  • sexual behaviour that causes unintended pregnancy and disease



Shanghai Declaration

The Shanghai Declaration on Health Promotion has been endorsed by the participants of the conference.

Contact information

WHO Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases (PND)
20 Avenue Appia
1211 Geneva 27
Telephone: +41 22 791 4426
Fax: + 41 22 791 4832