7.4 Healthy lifestyles and healthy nutrition
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One of the main strategic objectives of the National Youth Strategy 2010 – 2020 (Национална стратегия за младежта 2010 – 2020) is to promote healthy lifestyle among young people. The main fields of action with this regard are as follows:
- Prevention of factors causing risks for young people’s health. This can be achieved by promoting and supporting the cooperation between youth workers, health specialists, young people and sports organisations for the establishment of healthy lifestyle among young people. Furthermore, MYS has set the goal to ensure effective application of the EU physical activity guidelines among young people, especially those with disabilities.
- Improvement of the sexual culture of young people. The main focus here is on the development and dissemination of health information corresponding to the needs of young people through mobilisation of youth information networks. In partnership with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Youth and Sports works for the development and application of new forms of health education at schools, as well as promotion of health education in culture clubs (читалища), youth centers, sports and youth organisations, including by applying the “peer-to-peer learning” approach, for the purposes of obtaining knowledge, attitudes and skills for healthy lifestyle, safe behaviour and avoiding health endangering practices. Last but not least, the focus is on improvement of the access of young people to high quality services appropriate for them and to updated scientific information on the issues of sexual and reproductive health, prevention of unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
The other strategic document aimed at young people is the National Program for Prevention of Chronic Non-Infectious Diseases 2013-2020 (Националната програма за превенция на хроничните незаразни болести 2014-2020) of the Ministry of Health. Target groups comprise babies, children and young people up to 29 years of age, women in fertile age, pregnant and breastfeeding women, active population, elderly people, medical specialists and associated medical specialists/ healthcare professionals, non-medical specialists and partners.
The Youth Policies Directorate (Дирекция „Младежки политики“) at the Ministry of Youth and Sports implements National Youth Program /2016-2020/ (Национална програма за младежта /2016-2020/) with two subprograms: “Development of Youth Information and Consultative Centers Network” and “National Youth Initiatives and Campaigns”. One of the 6 thematic areas of the second subprogram is “Promotion of Healthy Lifestyle among Young People”.
The other program funded by the Ministry of Youth and Sports aimed at promotion of healthy lifestyle and nutrition is the National Program for Youth Activities under article 10a of the Gambling Act (Националната програма за изпълнение на младежки дейности по чл.10а от Закона за хазарта). During the period 2017 – at present 14 projects in total have been funded with the amount of up to BGN 100 000.
During the reporting period a significant number of activities aimed at health prevention and prophylaxis of diseases among children and students have been realized within the frames of the National Program for Prevention of Chronic Non-Infectious Diseases 2013-2020 (Националната програма за превенция на хроничните незаразни болести 2014-2020) of the Ministry of Health. Activities have been aimed at restricting the lifestyle-related risk factors (smoking, harmful nutrition, low physical activity, use of alcohol, etc.); the biological factors of risk to chronic non-infectious diseases. Different training methods and training forms have been used: lectures, talks, discussion, trainings, TV and radio shows, audio and video films, video displays, exhibitions, quizzes, thematic days, health celebrations, sports competitions, contests, campaigns, etc.
Organizing the European Week of Sport #BeActive, which is part of a pan-European policy for the promotion of a healthy lifestyle. National coordinator of the initiative for Bulgaria is the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
Elementary, high education (high school, vocational school) and universities in Bulgaria provide various possibilities for encouraging modern built health literacy, lowering the risky to health conduct and helping kids and adolescents for their future "navigation" in the system of healthcare. According to the research on the topic of Health literacy.
The age group of young people 13-14 are in 7th or 8th grade of the educational system. The subject Биология и здравно образование (Biology and Health Education) is mandatory part of the curriculum of the private and public schools in the country. That includes knowledge of body functioning, main concepts of health care, prevention and deceases.
- National Program for the Implementation of Youth Activities under Article 10a of the Gambling Act 2018.
- In pursuance of these policies, the Ministry of Youth and Sports has developed a National Program for the Implementation of Youth Activities under Article 10a of the Gambling Act 2018 as a tool for building socially responsible behavior in line with the principles of the Youth Act, the priorities of the National Youth Strategy (2010-2020) and the European Youth Policy.
- The program was developed in response to observed negative trends in various forms of aggression, addictions and risk behavior among young people.
- The main priority of the Program is to provide a supportive and encouraging environment for the personal, professional and social realization of the young people in the country by building socially responsible behavior and prevention of various forms of dependence and/or aggression, thus improving the quality of life and the environment in which young people live and communicate.
The aim of the program is to create conditions for socially responsible behavior by promoting healthy lifestyles, preventing aggression and various forms of addiction among young people. Peer-to-peer education approaches might be included in the activities of the program.
The collaboration and partnership on top-level is appearing in the implementation of the following National Programs:
- National Program for Prevention and Control of HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections in the Republic of Bulgaria for the period 2017-2020
- National Program for Prevention and Control of Tuberculosis in the Republic of Bulgaria for the period 2017-2020
- National Program for the Prevention of Oral Diseases in Children from 0 to 18 years of age in the Republic of Bulgaria 2015-2020
- National Program for the Improvement of Maternal and Child Health 2014-2020
Raising awareness on healthy lifestyles and on factors affecting the health and well-being of young people
National Program for the Implementation of Youth Activities under Article 10a of the Gambling Act 2018 is the program under which projects for raising awareneess on helathy lifestyle can be devleoped, especially in the field of addiction prevention, active lifestyle and well-being.