Canadian Association for School Health

The health and well being of children and youth must be a fundamental value of Canadian society. Recently, urgent health and social problems have underscored the need for collaboration among young people, families, schools, agencies, communities and governments in taking a comprehensive approach to school-based health promotion.

Experience and research evidence suggests strongly that a comprehensive school health approach can influence the health related knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of students. It is also recognized, however, the primary determinants of health status such as genetics, socio-economic, cultural and environmental factors will require that realistic expectations of such an approach need to be established.

A comprehensive school health approach includes a broad spectrum of activities and services which take place in schools and their surrounding communities in order to enable children and youth to enhance their health, to develop to their fullest potential and to establish productive and satisfying relationships in their present and future lives.

The goals of such comprehensive approaches are: The attainment of these goals demands that an integrated approach be used which incorporates the following specific strategies and elements within four categories of means: instruction, services, social support and physical environment. The successful implementation of this comprehensive approach necessitates leadership from elected officials, adequate funding, effective administrative support, and appropriate policy, legislation or regulations.

A comprehensive approach to school-based health promotion is designed not only to affect individual health behaviours but also to modify the environments in which young people live and learn. The programs, activities and services delivered within such comprehensive approaches to school health are the responsibility of young people, families and professionals, institutions, agencies and organizations concerned with children and youth, education, health, social services, law enforcement, the voluntary sector and the community as well as governments at all levels. Each of these individuals, organizations and government departments can potentially be involved in the delivery of instruction, services, social support or a healthy physical environment.

The health promoting strategies to be used within a comprehensive school health approach are:

Instruction; including: Preventive Health Services; including: Social Support; including: A Healthy Physical Environment; including:
National Organizations That Support Comprehensive School Health (CSH)

The following organizations have endorsed the statement on Comprehensive School Health:
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