Health-promoting schools in Australia: models and measurement

Aust N Z J Public Health. 1997;21(4 Spec No):365-70. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-842x.1997.tb01716.x.


Schools represent a very attractive setting for health promotion. Most children and young people attend school, professional educators are in place, and most school communities are microcosms of the larger community, providing opportunities for children to develop and practice the skills necessary to support a healthy life-style. In response to this opportunity, the precepts of contemporary health promotion have been synthesised into the 'health-promoting school' model, which is guided by a holistic view of health and by the principles of equity and empowerment. Although there are different conceptions of the model, the key components are: the formal curriculum; school ethos (the social climate); the physical environment; the policies and practices of the school; school health services; and the school-home-community interaction. The health-promoting school model offers a comprehensive, systematic approach to health promotion in the school setting, which is widely accepted internationally. There have been few studies in Australia that have attempted to determine the prevalence of activities related to the model or to evaluate interventions. Unfortunately, conceptual and practical advances have far outstripped the development of research and evaluation instruments. There is an urgent need to create valid research tools to support the development and implementation of this potentially fruitful health promotion model.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attitude to Health
  • Australia
  • Child
  • Curriculum
  • Environment
  • Female
  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Organizational Policy
  • School Health Services
  • Schools*
  • Social Environment