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Aug. 9, 2017

Educating and empowering children to make healthy choices across Mexico

Region: Americas Multiple streams
Summary

In Mexico, one in three children and adolescents are overweight or obese. This increases the risk of diabetes and hypertension, as well as learning and development issues. Additionally, many children are at risk of addiction, teenage pregnancy, and mental health issues.

“Health at your school” is a joint strategy between the Secretary of Public Education and the Secretary of Health (MoH) to address these health risks. It encourages children and adolescents to maintain a healthy body, avoid risky behaviors and acquire healthy habits, through five components: educate for health; curricular autonomy; professionals and students of health at your school; training for teachers and parents; and healthy schools. 

Description of the practice
12 out of 32 states Mexico

The Mexican population faces significant health challenges. Nowadays, one in three children and adolescents and seven in ten adults are overweight or obese. This increases the risk of many health conditions, including hypertension and diabetes. For students, it also impairs learning and development.



The program seeks that children and adolescents maintain a healthy body, avoid risky behaviors and acquire healthy habits, through 5 components:

  1. Educate for health: The educational model involves the strengthening of sports classes, promoting personal development, and physical and mental health. It will also include teaching on social-emotional health.

  2. Curricular autonomy: Each school will be able to allocate some time to topics of their choosing. Example topics could include “health care” or “healthy habits.”

  3. Professionals and students of health at your school: Health students and health professionals will visit schools in order to detect risk behaviours and implement interventions for weight management. Students who require specialist care will be referred to health units.

  4. Training for teachers and parents: Workshops and conferences to teachers and parents; Training by the Mexican Football Federation (FEMEXFUT) to sports teachers; and Health Fairs for teachers.

  5. Healthy schools: Supervision and installation of water dispensers; supervision of scholar menus; and supervision and promotion for selling healthy food at the school shops.

Implementation of the practice

Pilot stage

The program is a joint strategy between the Secretary of Public Education and the Secretary of Health (MoH).

It involves the participation of federal and state governments, academia, private sector, organized civil society and international organizations.

The implementation will be the responsibility of the health jurisdictional heads within the different states, with the support of school principals, health students and health professionals.

The Inter-American Development Bank will contribute with the evaluation and technical assistance activities.

 



The impact is not yet realized; however, results will be collected from implementation of pilot projects in 2017.


Contact information
Sebastián García Saisó
General Directorate for Quality of Healthcare and Education. Secretary of Health (MoH). Mexico
sebastian.garcia@salud.gob.mx
+52 55 2000 3483
Policy-maker

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