The National Center for Spinal Disorders, an affiliate of the Buda Health Center, is the only hospital in Hungary covering virtually the entire diagnostic and treatment spectrum of all disorders of the spine.


School Health

Plan for regional implementation of holistic health promotion in schools  

Annamaria Somhegyi M.D., Ph.D. Director of Prevention and Social Affairs,
National Center for Spinal Disorders
Budapest, Hungary. 2007.

Corresponding to the Parliamentary decision No. 46/2003. (IV.16.), and to the decisions of the Public Health Interministerial Board made on its meetings on May 22, November 11, 2003 and March 2, 2004 the Ministry of Health in consensus with other competent departments (Ministry of Education, Ministry of Children, Youth and Sport, Ministry of Finance) as part of the National Public Health Program, and based on wide professional consensus launched a framework for content, indicators, monitoring methods and financing of “whole school” and holistic health promotion in schools. Furthermore the necessary professional discussions with local leading education professionals of 4 designated regions have been made based on the decision and designation of the Ministry of Interior as a start.
The core element of the holistic school health promotion is that the school which fulfils 4 professional conditions under a monitoring system built up on given indicators, will receive support (in an amount corresponding to the number of pupils). These 4 professional conditions are the followings:
- Healthy diet
- Daily physical activity by all of the pupils (including also posture correcting exercises as prevention of spinal diseases)
- Developing advanced personality of the pupils through proper pedagogy methodology and application of arts (singing, dancing, drawing, telling fairy tales, playing folk ritus, etc)
- Inserting of effective health promotion modules into the curriculum.
During the one-year period before starting the application of the 4 professional elements the educators of the school finish the accredited trainings needed for the high quality program implementation. The school has to involve into holistic health promotion not only the whole stuff and all pupils but also parents and other helping civil organizations (“whole school” approach). Evidences show that the “whole school” and holistic approach of school health promotion is effective, thus it has to be institutionalized.

Presently not all of the schools have the capacity to apply for the health promotion support; the implementation may be achieved only gradually. The regional implementation model program serves this aim.

In contrary to the above mentioned designation for regions from the Minsitry of Interior, the budgetary resource was never given to start this public health program. For this reason we do not wait for the Budget any more, but we decided to start the “whole school” and holistic school health promotion in regions which want to utilize their Structural Funds for this program. As to our strategical imagine, following to this successful regional introduction, we will reach later to an adequate resource provision from the budgetary law.
By this mean we will be able to meet the public health goal: within a few years all the children in school should become a target of the school health promotion.
1. It is to be pronounced, that effective, institutionalized (=”whole school” and holistic) health promotion in schools gives evidence-based solutions to development of personal and social skills of the children:
- Decreases drop out of schools
- Prevents drug- and alcohol-consumption (and smoking)
- Helps crime-prevention
- Improves social relations of children to peers, to parents, to teachers
- Improves self-esteem
- Helps to get an advanced, competent personality
- Improves competence of adaptation
- Gives one of the two most important conditions of ability for work: good health (the other important element is being well trained)
- Helps to improve social capital.

2. Improving personal and social skills and capacities is an important goal in many documents of the EU and of Hungary as well:
- Education and Training 2010 (EU)
- Life Long Learning (EU)
- Youth Pactum (EU)
- Lisbon goals 2001-2005 (EU)
- Lisbon integrated guidelines for growth and jobs 2005-2008 (EU)
- Public Health Program of the EU
- Public Health Program of Hungary
- Education strategies in Hungary
- Drug prevention strategies (EU and Hungary)
- Crime prevention (Hungary)
- Social inclusion (EU and Hungary)
- Social and community development (EU and Hungary)

3. Some pieces of the international literature:

Freund T: Interneuron diversity: order emerging from chaos. Trends in Neurosciences, 2003 (26); 9:453-514.

Education and health in partnership. A European conference on linking education with the promotion of health in schools. Egmont aan Zee, 2002. szeptember 22-27. Conference report. International Planning Committee (IPC) 2002. (ISBN: 90-72796-07-2.)

Symons C, Cincelli B, James TC and Groff P: „Bridging student health risks and academic achievement through comprehensive school-health programs”, Journal of School Health, 1997; 67:6, 220-227.

„Global strategy on diet, physical activity and health.” WHO-WHA57.17. May 22 2004, Genf ( )

Children and young people – the importance of physical activity. European Heart Health Initiative, 2001, Brussels ( )

„A new partnership for cohesion. Third report on economic and social cohesion.” European Commision, 2004.; „Report of the High Level Group on the future of social policy in an enlarged European Union.” European Commission, 2004.