YHP ROMANIA – Eating. Health. Sport. Prevention.


Location

National - reaching youth from 300 settlements across Romania


Timing

Phase I 2013 – 2017; Phase II 2018-2022; Phase III 2022-2024


The local context

  • Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the largest cause of mortality and morbidity in Romania, with a 21% risk of premature death in the 30-70 year-old age group. Moreover, there is increasing trend for risk factors like physical inactivity and obesity.1

  • Prevention by active education is a key direction leading to empowerment and action.

  • Although 88% of Romanian teens spend more than three hours a day on the internet, only 1% use it to become informed on health risk factors such as tobacco use and alcohol consumption, according to a UNICEF and Romanian Educational Sciences Institute report.2

 


At the start of our programme, over half of adolescents (53%) undertook less than four hours of exercise a week. There was little health awareness education in schools, although the government of Romania recognised this as an issue and set aside one hour a week for health education in high schools.




Our objectives

• For Phase I our objectives were to
    • develop a national educational programme to create healthy lifestyle                      behaviours among adolescents aged 15-19.
    • open 420 school sports clubs within five years.
• For Phase II we aim to provide 10,000 high school students nationwide with practical health education.
• By continuing the YHP health education program through Phase III, the programme aims to improve the awareness, knowledge and positive attitude towards preventive health among young people. The programme includes classroom training and extra-curricular activities, adapted to hybrid learning for young people aged 15 – 19, across the country.


Our focus

Educating young people in healthy lifestyle habits, reducing the risk of cardiovascular events later in life.

 

Our programme

Phase I of our programme was launched in over 100 high schools, with health-related workshops organised with the Romanian Heart Foundation.

Health manuals for teachers and students were updated, and validated by the Ministry of Education, to help to improve education on cardiovascular health and risk factors.

These formed the basis of a classroom course in which students analysed factors or habits that can influence the health of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems and set goals for a healthy life, including physical activities and eating habits.

Sports clubs have been established in schools ‘by students, for students’ creating a framework to enable students to do more physical activities and to promote sport events.

A challenge was organised by the sport clubs, and 1,500 teenagers were equipped with pedometers to count all the steps they took. The challenge promoted physical activities as part of a healthy and active lifestyle and the winners were awarded sports equipment and diplomas.

Phase II builds on this work, and introduces Romania’s first integrated, practical approach to national health education. It brings together formal and informal community health education and delivery; the provision of educational kits, manuals and webinars; and sports and innovation challenges.

The programme has an integrated approach including:

• In-school courses based on validated educational resources to engage and educate on preventive health behaviours.

• Live webinars and extracurricular activities on preventive health.

• Innovation Day, exploring together how to shape education for health and wellbeing.




Our Achievements

Between Phase I and Phase II, more than 63,800 young people have been reached since the start of the programme. 100 high schools in 70 cities have participated, generating national media coverage across Romania.

In a survey of students who took part in the programme 87% correctly identified the most frequent cardiovascular diseases. The number of students who practised sport for four to eight hours a week increased by 10%.

The programme was profiled at an NCD Child side meeting at the World Health Assembly in 2014.  It received the Best Youth Sport Club Award at the Business Hall of Fame Gala in Bucharest in May 2015.

 The programme expects an additional 50,000 young people to be engaged in Phase III.





Our Partners

Junior Achievement (JA) Romania is a non-profit, international organization, founded in 1993 as part of JA Worldwide® and JA Europe. Its mission is to inspire and train the young generation to succeed by encouraging initiative, professionalism and the development of key competences for personal and professional life.


The Romanian Heart Foundation was founded by members of the Romanian Society of Cardiology to implement a national strategy in cardiovascular disease prevention and to support the public campaigns initiated by the Romanian Society of Cardiology.


References:

1. World Health Organization - Noncommunicable Diseases (NCD) Country Profiles, 2018., Accessed on 02.02.2022,  https://www.who.int/nmh/countries/rou_en.pdf

2. Business-Review.eu -  Romanian teenagers spend seven hours a day in front of a monitor, says UNICEF study , Accessed on 02.02.2022  https://business-review.eu/featured/romanian-teenagers-spend-seven-hours-a-day-in-front-of-a-monitor-says-unicef-study-48394