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Strengthen the health of Hamburg elementary school children

Hamburg Health Senator Cornelia Prüfer-Storcks: "In order for more Hamburg students to grow up healthier, it is necessary to recognize the need for prevention on time and to integrate health promotion into everyday school life. With the help of new school health professionals, students, parents and teachers are provided with technical support, which is the first contact a point for health issues in the immediate environment of children, may provide first aid but may also have preventative effects. For example, nutrition, exercise, hygiene and mental health may be discussed.

Education Senator Binds Rabe: "Good nutrition, lots of exercise and healthy lifestyles do not teach children on their own. And parents are sometimes overwhelmed by health education. For this reason, I am very pleased that we now have additional professionals in almost 30 schools to improve health services for children and adolescents. It is equally for children and parents, and above all it aims to ensure that children are healthy and carefree with various activities and counseling at school. "

Kathrin Herbst, Head of Ersatzkassen Hamburg State Representative Office, e.V .: “Health makes school: With school health professionals, Ersatzkassen significantly supports a project model that should create the same initial conditions for the healthy life of Hamburg children from socially disadvantaged families. This is very important to us. Particularly at risk are children in difficult social situations, for example, developing overweight or mental disorders – with far-reaching consequences for their future lives. So there is more to sticking plaster: school health professionals should, among other things, teach students – outside of class – the importance of healthy eating and exercise and strengthen their mental well-being resources. Good cooperation between alternative health insurance funds, health administrations and school authorities gives them the opportunity to turn primary schools in socially disadvantaged areas into centers of competence for healthy growth. How students benefit from this and their families can be found out with a model project. "

The Verband der Ersatzkassen (vdek) and the health and education authorities will implement the project from 2020 over a five-year period. In total, half the force per school should be used. With this model / pilot project, students in particular should arrive in Hamburg, whose targeted health development can be beneficial. Under the umbrella brand Healthy Living Areas, six alternative health insurance companies work together to increase people's accessibility in difficult social situations. School health professionals should be employed in as many as 29 primary schools in less privileged situations, bridging the gap between health, school, home, neighborhood and health services for children and young people. The project will be monitored by the coordination office. The project will be evaluated on the basis of evaluation, the results will be included in further design and recommendations for continuation.

The measure of social burden in Hamburg schools is the social index. It describes the different framework conditions of the Hamburg School that arise because of the different social and cultural makeup of each student. In primary schools, which are visibly located in districts with increased socio-economic burden (social indexes 1 and 2), poorer health behaviors are noticeable compared to other parts of Hamburg.

Future school health professionals should have the qualifications of nurses and nurses and, in addition, a bachelor's degree in health sciences and undertake the following tasks in primary schools:

  • They support the development of framework conditions for health that foster the needs of the school for life.
  • They support the school in working with parents on health issues such as informing and sharing health issues such as vaccinations, stress, teeth, and health lifestyles in the context of parents' cafes or jointly seeking health facility offerings.
  • They are multipliers for health topics and information (for example, vaccination information).
  • They support the school by informing school leaders about health promotion needs (anonymously).
  • They support the organization of prevention and health promotion measures as a contact person at school.
  • They make it easier for children and parents to access health-conscious behaviors and health care, for example through an afternoon project in schools on topics that promote health, such as nutrition, exercise, coping with stress, and jointly seeking health services such as healthcare facilities.
  • They are the contact point for children, parents and teachers about health issues.
  • They deal with individual situations related to structural health problems and seek solutions together with those affected.
  • They provide advice on health issues and, with the involvement of special education teachers and counseling teachers, provide further medical, nursing, therapeutic and / or psychosocial facilities as needed. They perform these tasks in collaboration with the school health service.
  • They support the school by incorporating socio-spatial education and health services (see, inter alia, the Regional Education Conference and the Local Health Network) and provide easy access to local and extracurricular health promotion activities.