Time for Health Education

by Kaarina Määttä (Volume editor) Satu Uusiautti (Volume editor)
©2014 Edited Collection 140 Pages


Health and healthy life styles are something that we all would like to induce in our youths and children. This book provides a new perspective for health education. It represents Finnish ideas and solutions of health education and provides analyses of health promotion. In today’s world, health education is expected to offer holistic information and increase understanding about the communal and environmental health issues along with individual choices and concern over fellow humans. This book presents a multidimensional analysis starting from the history of health education to the most current innovative health concepts. The book also includes hands-on examples of health promotion at various education levels.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Forewords
  • Brief Look at the Offering of the Book
  • Take Care – and Be Well!
  • Table of Contents
  • Authors
  • Publication Details of the Articles
  • The Value and Implementation of Health Education
  • Viewpoints to the Amplitude of Concepts
  • Health Promotion
  • Health Education and Counselling
  • Health Education as a School Subject
  • Health Skills
  • Discussion: Challenges of Health Education
  • References
  • A Glance at the History of Health Education
  • Health – The First Prerequisite of the Joy of Life
  • Roots Hark Back to the 17th Century
  • How was the Teaching of Health Education Reasoned at the Beginning of the 20th Century?
  • In the 1910s Gymnastic Teachers acted as Pioneers
  • Looking for the Essence of Hygiene at the Turn of the 1910s and 1920s
  • The State Regulations at the End of the 1930s
  • School Hygiene and Integrity
  • Nutrition and Responsibility on Focus in the 1960s
  • Integrating Health Education in Other School Subjects in the 1970s
  • The Turn of Millennia
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Health Capital and Health Literacy as the Fundamental Health Skills
  • The Role of Health Capital in Health Promotion
  • The Definition of Health and Health-related Research
  • Theoretical Introduction on the Concept of Capital
  • The Traditional Classification of Capital
  • Social and Symbolic Capital
  • Life Course Capitals
  • Individual-level capitals
  • Community-level capitals
  • What is Health Capital?
  • Criticism on Health Capital
  • Discussion
  • References
  • The Concept of the Experience-Based Capital of Physical Exercise (ECPE)
  • Research on Physical Exercise
  • The Concept of Capital
  • The Experience-Based Capital of Physical Exercise (ECPE)
  • Theory
  • Evaluating the Concept of the Experience-Based Capital of Physical Exercise
  • Discussion
  • References
  • The Fourth Level of Health Literacy
  • Method
  • Background of the Study
  • The Data
  • Results
  • A New Level of Health Literacy: Holistic Health Literacy
  • Tolerance
  • Understanding of Culture as a Wide and Multidimensional Phenomenon
  • Environmental Consciousness
  • The State of the World and Criticism toward Western Countries
  • Discussion of the Concept of Holistic Health Literacy
  • Conclusion: How to Develop the School Subject of Health Education?
  • References
  • Educational Viewpoints to Health Promotion among Children and the Youth
  • How to Use Positive Psychology to Beat Anorexia?
  • Theoretical Framework
  • Anorexia and Health
  • Positive Psychology Provides a Positive Attitude toward Life
  • Research Method, Data and Analysis
  • Results
  • Conclusions and Discussion
  • References
  • How to Overcome Bullying at School?
  • Perspectives on Bullying
  • Select Coping Theories
  • Method
  • Results
  • Cognitive Coping Methods
  • Social Coping Methods
  • Emotional Coping Methods
  • Creative Coping Methods
  • Physiological Coping Methods
  • Spiritual Coping Methods
  • Discussion and Conclusion
  • References
  • Expertise in Health Education
  • Pupil Welfare Work in Finnish Schools
  • What is Pupil Welfare?
  • The Significance of Pupil Welfare
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Differences in Teachers’ Commitment to Pupil Welfare Work
  • Differences in Teachers’ Trust in Work Environment
  • Conclusion: The Typology of Pupil Welfare Work
  • Discussion
  • Limitations
  • Implications for School Health
  • References
  • How to Promote the Healthy Development of Human Resources in Children and Youth?
  • Jungle of Concepts: The Connection between Human Resources and Positive Development and Health
  • What is the Basis of Positive, Healthy Development?
  • Positive Feelings
  • Good Social Relationships
  • Sufficient Self-Regulation and Self-Appreciation
  • Self-Fulfillment through Action
  • The Cloudberry Figure of Human Resources and Holistic Positive Development
  • Discussion: How to Enchance Children’s and Youngster’s Abilities to Find and Use their Resources
  • References

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Sanna Hoisko, MA, Finland

Outi Hyry-Honka, PhD, Rovaniemi University of Applied Sciences, Finland

Teija Koskela, PhD, University lecturer, University of Eastern Finland, Finland

Ari Kunnari, PhD, University lecturer, University of Lapland, Finland

Kaarina Määttä, PhD, Professor, Vice-rector, University of Lapland, Finland

Maija Rask, PhD, Kemi, Finland

Marika Savukoski, PhD, Director, Municipality of Keuruu, Finland

Satu Uusiautti, PhD, Adjunct Professor, University of Helsinki, Finland

Publication Details of the Articles

Määttä, K., & Uusiautti, S. (2013). The value and implementation of health education in Finland. International Journal of Sciences, 2(12), 46-51.

Rask, M., Uusiautti, S., & Määttä, K. (2013). Health – The first prerequisite of the joy of life. The history of the subject of health education in Finland. History of Education & Children´s Literature, 8(3), 415-431.

Hyry-Honka, O., Määttä, K., & Uusiautti, S. (2012). The role of health capital in health promotion. The International Journal of Health Promotion and Education, 50(3), 125-134.

Kunnari, A., Määttä, K., & Uusiautti, S. (2013). Introducing the concept of the experience-based capital of physical exercise (ECPE). Global Journal of Human Sciences, 13(2), 15-23.

Rask, M., Uusiautti, S., & Määttä, K. (2014). The fourth level of health literacy. International Quarterly of Community Health Education, 34(1), 51-71. (Baywood Publishing Company, Amityville, New York)

Savukoski, M., Määttä, K., & Uusiautti, S. (2012). Back to life: How to use positive psychology to beat anorexia. International Journal of Research Studies in Psychology, 1(2), 39-51.

Hoisko, S., Uusiautti, S., & Määttä, K. (2012). How to overcome bullying at school? – The adult survivors’ perspective. International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, 2(10), 58-72.

Koskela, T., Määttä, K., & Uusiautti, S. (2012). Pupil welfare work in Finnish schools – Communal or falling apart? Early Child Development and Care, 183(9), 1311-1323.

Uusiautti, S., & Määttä, K. (2013). How to promote the healthy development of human resources in children and youngsters? European Journal of Academic Research, 1(5), 212-221.

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The Value and Implementation of Health Education

Kaarina Määttä and Satu Uusiautti

Health promotion is a global issue and different countries have implemented a wide range of health promotion campaigns. Concern over health behavior in youth, unhealthy life styles, and repetitively perceived problems in health have aroused discussion over how to support the youth in their pursuit for good life.1,2,3

The health behavior, health, and well-being in Finnish youth have been studied systematically already from the 1970s. In addition to separate national surveyse.g.,4, numerous case studies on the youngsters’ health skills5,6 and school health surveyse.g.,7 have provided plenty of information. Likewise, international studies of World Health Organization (WHO) have provided comparison information about the health behavior and well-being at school among the fifth-, seventh-, and ninth-graders since the 1980s8,9. The international European Network of Health Promoting Schools (ENHPS) program has evaluated the promotion of health of school communities, school health care nurses’ health counseling and health education, and students’ health learning both in Finland10,11,12 and internationally3,13,14.

The international discussion of the promotion of health education has been dominated by evaluations of various health programs and projectse.g.,15,16. Although schools aiming at health promotion were established in Europe (e.g., European Network of Health Promoting Schools, ENHPS)17 and in the North-America (e.g., “Co-ordinated school health Programme”)see e.g, 18already in the 1980s, they could not solve health problems in a way that was expected19,20. Although health definitions have been developed in many disciplinese.g., 21,22 as well as means of measuring healthe.g., 23,24, still the connection between health skills in practice and in theory has proven problematic25. New research-based innovations are needed26.

The realization of health education can be difficult also because of the amplitude of concepts and their overlap. The variety in terms can be explained by the multi-disciplinary nature of the phenomenon: health is studied in medicine, nursing, psychology, education, sport, sociology, and etcetera. Moreover, the practices of health education are quite differently emphasized in various countries.

The purpose of this article is to review the concepts of health education, analyze the connections between the concepts, and introduce the realization of health education in Finland. Finland is a pioneering country in health education because health education is a legally defined school subject in basic education (including ← 11 | 12 → elementary and secondary education), and in general and vocational upper secondary education. Health education is also included in the core curriculum of preschool education.

Viewpoints to the Amplitude of Concepts

Health education aims at health promotion. Health promotion can be seen as a wide main concept or an umbrella concept24, 27. Then, the school subject of health education is one of the forms of implementing health education, and health education one of the strategies of promoting health28,29.

We have illustrated the entity of health education through the various concepts and their mutual hierarchy (see Figure 1). As the following chapters will show, there are numerous concepts that could be included in the figure but we have carefully chosen the ones we find the most important to illustrate the connection between health promotion, health education, and eventually, the individual person’s health skills. Health skills include health awareness, health sensitivity and health literacy. The fundamental idea is that at its most concrete, successful health promotion leads to high-level health skills that are manifested as the ability to cherish health and well-being at the level of the behavior of individual people and communities. At the individual level, health skills are symbolized with the flame of life as the outcome of health promotion, health education, and the school subject of health education. Next, we will define the current terms and introduce Finnish solutions to strengthen health education.


Figure 1. Core concepts of health education ← 12 | 13 →

Health Promotion

Health promotion is a multidimensional concept covering at least (1) health promoting and enabling measures and (2) preventive measures that are to prevent the development of illnesses, treat, and rehabilitatee.g., 22,30. The goal of the first is to strengthen the outer and inner factors that nurture healthe.g., 31. The goal of health promotion is embedded in the health culturee.g., 32 and written in health policiese.g., 33. Actually, today’s public health and health promotion researchers are calling for better training and a stronger research culture in health policy as well34. This is because health promotion is under constant development internationally and interpreted by countries quite variedly.

Indeed, Signal states that “health promotion is an inherently political enterprise”33, p. 257. Health promotion is based on the declarations and programs of WHO world conferencese.g., 35,36,37. In Finland, the Council of State made a decision in principle in 2001 about the ”Health 2015” national health program and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health has compiled quality recommendations for health promotion in 2006. They aim at the promotion of the whole population, prevention of illnesses, and decrease of differences in health among population groups.


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2014 (April)
Gesundheitserziehung Gesundheitsförderung health capital Sportunterricht human strengths human resources health skills
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2014. 140 pp., 2 tables, 6 graphs

Biographical notes

Kaarina Määttä (Volume editor) Satu Uusiautti (Volume editor)

Kaarina Määttä, PhD, is the professor of Educational Psychology at the Faculty of Education, University of Lapland (Finland), and deputy vice-chancellor at the same university. Her research interests cover love, human strengths, early childhood education and student guidance, and teacher training and teacherhood. Satu Uusiautti, PhD, is Adjunct Professor at the University of Helsinki, and Researcher at the University of Lapland. Her personal research interests are in positive psychology and human strengths, happiness, success, and well-being in life in general.


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142 pages