YHP ROMANIA – Eating. Health. Sport. Prevention.
National – in over 70 cities across Romania.
Phase I 2013 – 2017; Phase II from 2018
The local context
58% of Romanians die from coronary heart disease1, well above the global average of 31%. The number of cardiovascular events occurring at an early age is also increasing.
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.
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.
Educating young people in healthy lifestyle habits, reducing the risk of cardiovascular events later in life.
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 (under the title ‘I <heart> Sport’) were 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 ‘Step-by-Step Winners’ was organised by ‘I <heart> 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.
To date more than 50,000 people, teenagers and teachers, have been directly involved.
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 to the WHA in 2014, and two focus groups. It received the Best Youth Sport Club Award at the Business Hall of Fame Gala in Bucharest in May 2015.