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Health Box: Integration of Health Issues in Adult Education
Start date: Jan 1, 2010,

Adults who are socio-economically disadvantaged, with a low level of education and those with a migration background belong to the groups of adults most at risk of acquiring a physical or mental lifestyle disease, which “include Alzheimer's disease, atherosclerosis, asthma, cancer, chronic liver disease or cirrhosis, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, nephritis or chronic renal failure, osteoporosis, acne, stroke, depression and obesity” ( 29.01.2009).The European Commission’s Green Paper „Improving the mental health of the population. Towards a strategy on mental health for the European Union“ (COM(2005)0484) highlights the urgency of the mental health challenge and stresses that mental ill health affects every citizen of the EU either directly or indirectly. According to the Green Paper, more than 27% of adult Europeans are estimated to experience at least one form of mental ill health during any one year, with anxiety disorders and depression (18.4 million people aged between 18 and 65 in the EU) being the most common forms. European Commission and Parliament documents (Report on the Green Paper (2006/2058(INI)) identified among others disadvantaged members of society as the target groups most affected by mental health problems in particular ethnic and other minority groups, migrants, those in precarious jobs and the unemployed.These groups of adults most at risk are, however, rather unlikely to be reached by health information campaigns or to be willing to participate in traditional health education. Thus, any strategy to help them to acquire a healthier lifestyle and thus prevent illness must seek to address these hard-to-reach groups where they can be found instead of waiting for them to come to health education seminars. Adequate settings might be labour-market oriented training programmes, vocational training seminars, evening classes on subjects other than health, or informal community or social work environments.Adult educators who work with the target groups in such contexts need to be made aware of health issues and be provided with ready-to use training materials for health promotion which they can easily integrate in classes on subjects other than health.The project Health Box promotes knowledge, attitudes and skills related to prevent lifestyle diseases and enhance healthy life habits among socio-economically disadvantaged adults, migrants and adults with a low level of education.This global aim will be pursued by developing, testing and disseminating a Health Box, a set of methodologies, tools, teaching and learning materials adult educators can use in their respective training practice. Main project products:Health box- Info brochure: Health issues in adult educationIntroduction to physiacal and mental health, ill-health and lifestyle diseases- Training materials:Tools, methods, exercises on issues related to the promotion of a healthy lifestyle and prevention of lifestyle diseasesMedium: Online material and CD- Accompanying Trainer’s Booklet Recommendations and practice examples how to integrate small health-related units into educational activities on different subject areas.Medium: PDF and printProduct development is complemented by awareness-raising activities about health issues among stakeholders in adult education. To this end a range of dissemination products will be developed and distributed, including a project website, flier, poster, newsletters, project presentations, and media publications.Health Box is designed for two years and will be implemented by a consortium of seven education providers and healthcare institutions from seven countries.
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