7.1 General context
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Youth health in Lithuania lags behind other EU countries. The latest information on the health of young people can be found in the statistical report on the state of health of young people 2015-2020 published by the Institute of Hygiene. General statistical information (including youth health) is provided by the Institute of Hygiene and the State Data Agency.
Main youth health trends in Lithuania:
1) in the age group of 15-24 years, from 2005 to 2020, the proportion of obese persons increased almost 4 times;
2) The physical activity of young people is constantly decreasing, the health indicators of young people related to physical activity are deteriorating.
3) Consumption of alcohol, tobacco and drugs does not decrease.
Areas that need special attention include high rates of suicide and related psychological and behavioral problems, high rates of youth smoking and alcohol use, and the need to increase physical activity and access to health information and sexuality education.
in 2022 the second physical activity report of Lithuanian children and youth was published (the first was published in 2018). The creation of the Lithuanian report was initiated and coordinated by the Department of Physical and Social Education of the Lithuanian Sports University in cooperation with the following partners: Vilnius University, the Lithuanian National Olympic Committee, the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports of the Republic of Lithuania.
The Institute of Hygiene is tasked with administering the online portal of healthcare services for young people http://www.sveikatostinklas.lt/. The website is intended for young people aged 14 to 29. It provides relevant, science-based information on a variety of health issues. The website contains articles on the following topics: Physical activity; Smoking; A healthy diet; Drugs (prevention, harm, etc.); Alcohol (prevention, harm, etc.); Contraception; Lit. spreading infections; Sexual relations; Mental health; Self harm; Suicides; Eating disorder. On the website, there is an opportunity for young people to ask a health specialist a question on various health topics.
The main concepts related the health conditions of young people include psychological assistance which is provided at secondary schools by psychologists of pedagogical psychological services and healthcare in schools (see Law on Education Articles 19 and 22). Healthcare in schools services are aimed to protect and improve health of learners, by actively cooperating with their parents (guardians, curators). Healthcare in schools comprises public healthcare activities carried out by specialists of municipal public healthcare institutions or healthcare specialists (see also Order of the Minister of health on the the qualification requirements for healthcare specialists working at schools). Schools may implement only learners’ health promotion programmes which are approved by the Ministry of Education and Science, other ministries or municipal institutions. Personal healthcare in schools is designated for learners with special educational needs in accordance with the procedure laid down by legal acts. Schools can develop and implement health improvement programmes. Such programmes may be supported with funds of state and/or municipal target programmes on public health support, and other funds. Article 6 of the Law on Public Health Care of the Republic of Lithuania (Lietuvos Respublikos visuomenės sveikatos priežiūros įstatymas) states that public health care functions at pre-school, pre-primary, primary, basic and secondary education programs in pre-school, general education schools and vocational education institutions in the territory of the municipality, public health strengthening, public health monitoring are designated to municipalities. The municipalities carry out independent public health care functions such as: 1) implemening public health measures provided for in the strategic development plans of the municipality and (or) municipal strategic plans approved by the municipal council, taking into account the prevailing public health problems in the municipality; 2) participate in the implementation of state public health programs, interinstitutional activities plans; 3) carry out the health care of children and young people, except for public health care provided by pre-school, pre-primary, primary, basic and secondary education programs in pre-school, general education schools and vocational education institutions located in the municipality's territory; 4) includes social partners in public health promotion activities. Municipal Public Health Bureaus (Visuomenes sveikatos biurai) are established in each municipality that act as municipal public health care institutions. The functions of the Municipal Public Health Bureaus are established by the Ministry of Health, which among other programmes include municipal public health support programmes for youth. Public health care provided by municipalities is financed from the state budget, the municipal budget, the municipal public health support program, the Compulsory Health Insurance Fund and other funds. In accordance with the procedure established by the Government, the municipalities report annually to the Ministry of Health.