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Be healthy – Be yourself: the EU and Youth Health

The EU’s activities on Youth Health aim to help your country's government, NGOs and other actors take action to improve your and your friends' health. But it’s also time you get involved by making responsible lifestyle choices.

The EU's attention to young people's health is an important element of the EU Health Strategy. Why not get involved? The most important actor in improving your health is you!

 

The EU Youth Health Initiative

In 2008, the Council of the EU adopted a Resolution on the Health and Well-Being of Young People that highlighted the importance of promoting the health and well-being of young people in Europe.

 

In 2009, the European Commission launched a Youth Health Initiative with the main goal of involving young people in the decision making process about their health and at generating commitment from stakeholders to improve youth health. The Be Healthy - Be Yourself conference, organised with the European Youth Forum drafted a youth health roadmap with actions to promote young people's health.

 

EU Youth Health Activities

The Commission has different activities on youth health issues, but in general terms you can take advantage of three:

The EU Health Portal - young people has information on health-related issues and activities in and outside Europe and EU public health programmes.

The EU Health Insurance Card 
will help save you time, hassle and money if you fall ill or suffer an injury while abroad.

The World Health Organization/Europe – child and adolescent health warns young people against the dangers of alcohol consumption, illegal drug and tobacco use, unsafe sex, violence and injuries.

 

The EU approach to youth and health

Many of the health problems young people will encounter as adults, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, cancers and mental disorders, begin in the childhood and adolescent years. This is why, among young people, health should be considered in its widest sense, in line with the WHO definition of health: "Health is not merely the absence of disease, but a state of complete physical, psychological, and social well-being".

The EU’s notion of health in young people also covers physical capacity, psychological functioning, social relationships and environmental potentials (for example, opportunities to acquire new information and skills, possibilities for leisure activities, the physical environment).