Childhood and adolescence offer great opportunities for improving public health. At no other time in life are health promotion and prevention so effective, sustainable and economically efficient. In Switzerland, this great potential is not adequately exploited. For this reason, the SAMS was among the signatories to the «Manifesto for Healthy Children and Adolescents» issued in 2019.
Increasing health costs are at the top of the list of public concerns. Accounting for a large proportion of these costs are common health problems such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, mental health issues and musculoskeletal disorders.
The onset of these widespread conditions could be significantly delayed, or their incidence reduced, by appropriate health promotion and disease prevention efforts – particularly in childhood and adolescence. The implementation of suitable measures at this stage of life could help to avoid substantial costs and provide huge benefits in terms of quality of life.
To draw attention to this issue, a manifesto sponsored by the Swiss Society for Public Health, the Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+) and the School of Health Professions (ZHAW) was issued in 2019. The manifesto was signed by over 30 institutions, including the SAMS, as part of its commitment to the sustainable development of the health system.
One of the eight measures proposed in the position paper «Sustainable development of the health system», published by the SAMS in 2019, was that efforts to promote health literacy should begin in childhood.
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