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EACEA National Policies Platform


7. Health and Well-Being

7.4 Healthy lifestyles and healthy nutrition

Last update: 28 November 2023
On this page
  1. National strategy(ies)
  2. Encouraging healthy lifestyles and healthy nutrition for young people
  3. Health education and healthy lifestyles education in schools
  4. Peer-to-peer education approaches
  5. Collaboration and partnerships
  6. Raising awareness on healthy lifestyles and on factors affecting the health and well-being of young people

National strategy(ies)

The operational objectives of the National Health Programme for 2021-2025 promise, among other things, prevention of overweight and obesity, including promoting correct nutrition, courses in those fields for professional groups engaged in the fight with obesity and overweight, consumer research in the fields of nutritional preferences, pro-health fiscal politics aiding the fight against overweight and obesity, creating and managing nutritional principles, monitoring, early diagnosis and intervention in the cases of overweight and obesity or arterial hypertension in children, and research into the food and nutrition habits of the Polish population. . It is for this purpose that the National Centre  for Food Education (Narodowe Centrum Edukacji Żywieniowej) was established on the initiative of the Institute for Food and Nutrition and because "it is necessary to disseminate knowledge about healthy eating and healthy lifestyles, make a positive change to eating attitudes and habits, thus improving the health of Poles". In response to the population’s need for access to free diet advice, the Centre runs an on-line nutrition advice centre - an on-line diet clinic where dieticians can be consulted individually.

Encouraging healthy lifestyles and healthy nutrition for young people

Until 2020, under the National Health Program for the years 2016-2020 (Narodowy Program Zdrowia na lata 2016-2020) programs functioned as its independent parts  coordinated, implemented and monitored mainly by the Minister of Health serve the purpose of reducing the young generation’s risky behaviours: The National Programme for Prevention and Solving Alcohol Problems; The Programme for Limiting Health Consequences of Using Tobacco and Related Products, The Act on Counteracting Drug Addiction. In the National Health Program for years 2021-2025 (Narodowy Program Zdrowia na lata 2021-2025), addiction prevention is enshrined as an operational goal, under which policies are designated, including the prevention of addictions to alcohol, psychoactive substances, and tobacco, as well as behavioral addiction. However, they do not have the status of independent programs. These policies refer to young people mostly with regards to integrated addiction prevention. Within each policy, youths are mostly targeted via health education and addiction prevention schemas (universal, selective, and directed), via monitoring and researching the situation in various kinds addiction, and via expanding and increasing the quality of services for children from families with an alcohol abuse issue (as well as children suffering from familial violence). Young people are not specifically mentioned under policy directed at preventing specific types of addiction. Similarly, they are only rarely mentioned with regards to the program’s enactors (such as the Ministry of Education and Science or its various subordinate organizations), only in the context of actions taken in order to decrease the use of psychoactive substances. Without a doubt, under all these policies, work is done that is directed at youth as a part of the whole of society. Specific actions addressed to young people emerge then either from specifying policy enacted by the National Health Program for the years 2021-2025, or from separate legal acts. An example of the latter is the Minister of Health’s directive from the 23rd of November, 2021, regarding the pilot program of therapeutic action addressed to children and youth abusing new digital technologies, and their families. The program is predicted to run from the 1st of December 2021 until 30th of June 2023 and is supposed to decrease the symptoms of new digital technologies abuse.

Education for Safety (Edukacja dla bezpieczeństwa), a subject provided in the core curriculum imposed by the Ministry of National Education, envisages education in public safety, including "the preparation for emergency response in cases of emergency (mass accidents and disasters), first aid fundamentals" and health-enhancing education. It also involves transferring the knowledge of civilisation diseases (hypertension, diabetes, lipid metabolism disorders, obesity), cancer, psychiatric diseases, those linked to risk behaviours and addictions, including their prevention and risk factors. Interestingly, the subject involves wide cooperation between schools and local police units, fire services, training centres, army units and non-governmental organisations such as Volunteer Fire Fighters, Polish Red Cross, National Defence League.

Health education and healthy lifestyles education in schools

Polish schools provide no regular and compulsory education focussing on relationships and sex. The Regulation of the Minister of National Education on Framework Teaching Plans for Public Schools (Rozporządzenie ministra edukacji narodowej w sprawie ramowych planów nauczania dla publicznych szkół) only proposes an optional subject, Family Life Education. However, while there is no number of hours specified, there is a reference to the provisions of the Act on Family Planning, Protection of Human Foetus and Pregnancy Termination Conditions (Ustawa o planowaniu rodziny, ochronie płodu ludzkiego i warunkach dopuszczalności przerywania ciąży) which provides that the minister will issue a regulation to determine the way of teaching and the contents of the subject

Polish young people needing support in crisis situations can talk to a free and anonymous helpline for children and youth by dialling 116 111 - a number that is the same all over Europe. It is run by the Empowering Children Foundation, which responds to requests for moral support in difficult and crisis situations. The helpline is no longer financed by the State. At the moment it remains operative thanks to a business partner’s support.

The Ombudsman for Children’s Rights established in 2022 a helpline for children and youth – 800 12 12 12. The helpline is available 24/7 and includes a chat option.

Peer-to-peer education approaches

No information available

Collaboration and partnerships

Information campaigns focussing on healthy lifestyles and factors influencing health and well-being usually have a broader scope and are aimed at all age groups. Some campaigns, however, are addressed to families or parents, and to children and youth through them. An example would be Active From Childhood (Aktywni od dziecka), a campaign addressed to parents in order to draw their attention to the sedentary lifestyle of children and to encourage them to help children be physically active. A similar case was the Sweat Yourself (Spoć się) campaign, addressed to families and promoting increasing physical activity as a route to better physical and mental health. An example of a campaign addressed to specific social groups, including the youth, is Depression. You Understand - You Help (Depresja. Rozumiesz – pomagasz). It’s goal is to promote knowledge about depression, its symptoms and possible treatments. One of its branches is the issue of language to use when communicating with people suffering from depression, and one of the groups it is addressed to are young people struggling with youth depression in adolescence.

Raising awareness on healthy lifestyles and on factors affecting the health and well-being of young people

The Ministry of Health supports projects realized under the program called Tooth Rot Prevention for the Youth, financed from the Operational Program Knowledge, Education, Development 2014-2020, Priority Area V: Support for Public Health. The programme is directed at young people aged 15-19. The goals of the programme are the following: to raise awareness on teeth hygiene among young people, raising awareness on the right eating habits, diet and healthy lifestyle as factors influencing the health of teeth.