Health and well-being of young people
This resolution highlights the importance of promoting the health and well-being of young people in Europe. Among others, it encourages Member States and the Commission to take steps to mainstream youth health policy and involve all relevant stakeholders in the development of health-related initiatives.
Resolution of the Council and the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council of 20 November on the health and well-being of young people [Official Journal C 319 of 13.12.2008].
Even though the health of Europe’s young people is considered to be in general rather satisfactory, concerns remain regarding nutrition, physical activity, alcohol abuse, as well as sexual and mental health. In this context, it is essential to promote a healthy lifestyle, to adopt preventive measures and to take gender issues into consideration.
Several aspects related to living conditions pose a risk to young people’s health and well-being. To ensure the healthy development of young people, their physical and social environments should be wholesome. This aim is best achieved by giving further support to parents.
The extent of social inclusion and level of education of young people is closely related to their health and well-being. Hence, it is important that young people are kept well informed of the advantages of a healthy lifestyle and that they are encouraged to become more responsible and autonomous with regard to their own health.
In order to ensure that youth health policy is efficient, the state of play should be assessed to provide better tailored strategies that take into consideration the needs of and differences among young people. The strategies should be based on a comprehensive and cross-sectoral approach. Youth health policy should involve the local, regional, national and European levels and be developed in close partnership with a wide range of stakeholders.
Consequently, the Council is inviting Member States to:
- mainstream the “youth” dimension into all initiatives that are related to health issues and implement appropriate measures for youth health policy;
- allow all relevant stakeholders, including young people themselves, to participate in developing and implementing the initiatives related to health issues;
- support young people’s access to both cultural and physical leisure-time activities;
- consider youth health issues in information and the media programmes and policies;
- promote youth workers’ and organisations’ training on health issues and prevention measures.
The Commission is also invited to ensure the mainstreaming of the “youth” dimension in all initiatives related to health issues, as well as to include all stakeholders and the young people themselves at all stages of development of the initiatives on youth health policy.
Finally, the Council is inviting Member States and the Commission to collaborate, in order to:
- expand knowledge of youth health issues by increasing research into and regular reporting on the topic;
- include data on youth health and well-being into the Commission’s triennial report on young people’s situation in Europe;
- inform the public about issues that affect the health of young people;
- promote exchanges at the local, regional, national and European levels on best practice related to youth health;
- promote the use of existing European Union (EU) instruments in the development of youth health-related projects;
- encourage stronger collaboration on youth health issues among young people, youth organisations and other relevant stakeholders as well as civil society.
The White Paper on youth of 21 November 2001 recognised the importance of health in empowering young people, fostering their social inclusion and developing their active citizenship. The European Youth Pact, adopted in March 2005, further emphasised the need to mainstream the “youth” dimension, in particular issues related youth health, to other relevant European policies.