School health, nutrition and education for all: levelling the playing field

School health, nutrition and education for all: levelling the playing field

Health and nutrition programmes offer substantial benefits to children’s education, helping them to attend school and learn while there. School health and nutrition programmes make use of the education system to deliver simple treatments for common conditions. The result is a highly cost-effective way to reduce inequalities in education and to help all children around the world reach their educational potential. This argument is examined through a discussion of the challenges to child health and nutrition and the impact of these on education and an analysis of the costs, benefits and policy options involved in the implementation of health and nutrition programmes in schools. 

The publication presents key elements in designing an effective school health and nutrition programme, including focusing on education outcomes, developing a formal, multi-sectoral policy, initiating a process of wide dissemination and consultation, using the existing infrastructure as much as possible, building the programme around simple, safe and family health and nutrition interventions, providing primary support from public resources, and being inclusive and innovative. It concludes that school health and nutrition programmes improve equity in education, can have a massive global impact and are a cost-effective 'quick-win'.