Opinion: Why are we not Teaching our Children that ‘Health is Wealth’?

Alfa Mathew, Medical University of Sofia, Faculty of Medicine (Sofia, Bulgaria)

How many of the world’s school curriculums have primary health education as a subject? Yet, as we age, we realize it’s one of the most essential aspects of our lives or the most essential aspect of life. We have managed to construct effective support groups, fitness centers, rehabilitation centers, in between all of this have we forgotten the basics? This is a short article discussing the importance of implementing and educating our children about self-care, prevention and nutrition education.

Education has been the most powerful source to social and economic transformation. We have successfully used education to tackle poverty, gender equality to reducing child mortality, Improvements in neonatal and pediatric care for chronic conditions mean more children with previously lethal conditions are now surviving into adulthood but how many of them live a healthy adulthood? History has taught as education empowers minds, and an empowering mind creates a healthy and prosperous world. As life expectancy increases, these costs extend into adulthood. Health education about preventable chronic and infectious diseases during childhood can improve educational achievement and employment prospects and reduce disability and dependency in adulthood. 

 School is an institution where a nation creates inventors, discoverers, innovators, employers and employees.  Curriculums teach about hard work, competition, stress and how to handle stress in the world. We teach the young about investments, for a large population of the globe, the monetary investment is a house. When an individual first move into their new surroundings, they are excited to make it their own. From carefully choosing the colour of the paints on the walls to reflect the mood we want to project to choosing furniture’s and fixtures that reveals personality and lifestyle. However how much does it teach about the basic health issues such as hygiene, nutrition and wellbeing and why is self-investment neglected in society today?

Good health is paramount of sustainable development. Studies have shown that every 2 seconds someone aged between 30 to 70 years dies prematurely from non communicable disease such as cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, diabetes. History has definitely enlightened our concepts of prevention, however, how much we have capitalized and utilized is questionable. Restructuring our goals about health and wellbeing and incorporating into our quality education is a method of reconstructing our children’s minds and shaping your child’s attitudes toward his well-being.

Introducing appropriate classroom education about puberty, reproduction, AIDS, alcohol and other substance abuse, chronic diseases and other relevant issues should be the ultimate goal for the next 10 years.

Compulsorily implementing primary health education is the first step to creating a sustainable world. Let’s change the world’s vision on achievements, success and investments. Let’s teach our children how to safeguard and improve their own health, security and prosperity. Making them responsible for their own health, this is one of the major gifts we can give them because health should be our wealth.

There are many pressing needs. Above all, we need multisectoral, multilateral funding mechanisms to address this major need. There should also be National education Policy with provisions for health and well-being, and a much stronger link between young people and health.

 “Take good care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”  John Rim.

Journal Reference:

  1. Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 Collaborators. Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 301 acute and chronic diseases and injuries in 188 countries, 1990–2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013The Lancet, 2015 DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(15)60692-4

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