Prevention of musculoskeletal disorders at school…

Bilbao, October 3 – For every nation, the health and well-being of children and young people is a global priority and is closely linked to their Education.

In fact, after the family, school is the most important point of socialization for young people and has a decisive influence on the acquisition of specific skills and behavior also in terms of health and safety.

If we then think about the world of work, it is obvious that the School is a place that lends itself perfectly to the long-term implementation of an effective strategy for the prevention of accidents and occupational diseases, also with specific reference to the many problems related to the workplace musculoskeletal disorders (DMS).

Regarding these disorders, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) launched the prevention campaign “Healthy and safe workplaces” in 2020. Let’s lighten the load!” and has also produced and published papers on musculoskeletal disorders in children, adolescents and young workers, particularly on Role of the school.

In this regard, today we present the document “Better schools by promoting musculoskeletal health“(Better schools thanks to the promotion of musculoskeletal health) – edited by Heinz Hundeloh and Ulrike Bollmann – which focuses on the involvement of schools in issues related to health and safety at work and the prevention of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD).

In presenting the document, the article focuses on the following topics:

Learn about health and safety with preschool and school education

The report examines how schools can contribute to early and long-term prevention of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and refers to three different topics – occupational health and safety (OSH), education and public health – exploring possible actions common to these three. .

As mentioned above, an OSH culture can only be achieved if children and young people can learn healthy behavior and to receive Health skills already during theKindergarten and school education.

If this is done successfully, these young people, even when they enter the world of work, will be able to competently manage the risks and dangers to health and safety. Without forgetting, among other things, that a large part of health problems appear or have their basis in childhood or youth.

Effective integration of safety and health into education is not only desirable, but also possible. And schools can make a concrete and long-term contribution to the prevention of musculoskeletal disorders.

Musculoskeletal problems can be a serious problem for children/youth and teachers, among others.

Musculoskeletal disorders: The relationship between health and education

Health and education are closely related and interdependent. In this sense, if the education sector is to focus more on health promotion aspects, the structures that concern public health and OSH prevention must place more importance on prevention in schools.

It is emphasized that the school system deEnvironment suitable for prevention of musculoskeletal disorders.

Although there is still much work to be done to implement OSH in school curricula, the specifics have already been studied Promotion approach, for example in relation to the “Good healthy school” approach or the “Schools for Health in Europe” (SHE) network approach. Both are comprehensive educational approaches that are no longer limited to the prevention of accidents, injuries and diseases or the promotion of safety and health in general, but treat these issues comprehensively and look at the environment and sustainability, as well as ways to improve learning, teachers and the school climate.

It is also evident that in a preventive health strategy, focused on the promotion of musculoskeletal health and on the prevention of MSD, great importance must be placed Activities and oh physical exercises.

In fact, current findings show that diseases and disorders of the musculoskeletal system can be prevented and minimized, especially byphysical exercise. Exercise can prevent obesity, improve bone density, optimize strength and mobility, as well as prevent or reduce anxiety and depression. These are all factors that influence the development, progression and severity of musculoskeletal disorders.

It is indicated that in order to achieve the positive effects of exercise, activity levels must at least meet the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO). And people need to learn to train properly.

Unfortunately, despite all these benefits, the lack of physical exercise pervades a large part of the population and precisely for this reason, educational institutions are given a key role to change things.

Let’s finish with a few Recommendations for the design and implementation of preventive measures.

First of all, it is good to understand what the aim of this prevention.

Although it is clear that the students are the target group for a prevention initiative in schools, which promotes short, medium and long-term physical exercise and reduces MSDs, teachers and school managers must not be forgotten either. They form other important target groups and should be taken into account when implementing measures.

These are some recommendations for organizing initiatives to promote physical exercise/sports/play at school:

  • speak the language of the school
  • formulate goals together with the education sector and all stakeholders
  • Cooperation with educational institutions and other interested organizations, entities and individuals
  • Value the involvement of all stakeholders from the beginning
  • provide sufficient resources and support
  • Learning skills related to exercise and health
  • adopt a holistic and integrative perspective of prevention.

The index of the EU-OSHA document

In conclusion, we refer to the full reading of the document “Better schools by promoting musculoskeletal health“And we report the index.

1 Introduction

1.1 Background

1.2 Objectives of the report

1.3 Structure of the report

2 Health and school

2.1 The complementary relationship between education and health

2.2 The health situation in schools

2.2.1 MSDs: A problem for children and adolescents?

2.2.2 MSDs: A problem for teachers?

3 Concepts for promoting health and safety in schools

3.1 The formal framework for prevention in the school

3.2 The health promoting school approach

3.3 Prevention as school development: Implementation of the healthy school approach

3.4 Fields of action for the development of healthy schools

3.4.1 Action field 1: Development of personnel

3.4.2 Action field 2: Learning development

3.4.3 Action field 3: Organizational development

3.5 Health literacy as a key to lifelong health

3.6 Conceptual examples: The “good healthy school” concept and the SHE “health promoting school” approach

3.6.1 “Good healthy school” concept

3.6.2 SHE “health promoting school” approach

4 Importance of exercise and physical activity for prevention

4.1 IMPORTANT: The correlation between physical exercise and physical and mental health

4.2 CENTRAL: Prevention of MSDs through exercise

4.3 PRACTICE: The importance of practice for learning

5 Conditions for successful implementation

5.1 Prerequisites and Conditions for Successful Implementation.

5.2 Training and CPD for teachers

5.3 Availability of Resources

5.4 Formation of networks and partnerships

6 Practical examples

6.1 Finland: Schools on the move

6.2 Austria: Moving school

6.3 Hungary: Daily physical education

6.4 Germany: “Safety and health in physical education” initiative.

7 What needs to be done? – Bring more movement to schools – Create schools that move! – A conclusion

8 Strategic approaches to promote exercise and prevent MSDs in schools

9 references

10 Glossary

The link to the website of the campaign “Healthy and safe working environment. Let’s lighten the load!”


Download the document from which the article is taken:

European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, “Better Schools by Promoting Musculoskeletal Health” edited by Heinz Hundeloh and Ulrike Bollmann, edition 2022 (PDF format, 3.41 MB).

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