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Today, we celebrate World Health Day!

At PAU Education, we have been strongly committed to promoting healthy habits and lifestyles, and preventing risky behaviors for many years. We design and implement cross-cultural and community-based interventions focused on youth participation. Evidence suggests that top-down and paternalistic approaches have proved unsuccessful. Youth and citizens must take ownership regarding decisions affecting their wellbeing in order to achieve sustainable lifestyle changes.

This year's focus is on mental health and depression. According to 2016 HBSC study*, mental disorders are the leading cause of disability in many western countries, responsible for 30-40% of chronic sick leave and health-related early retirement, and cost around 3% of gross domestic product.

This also affects young citizens, since mental health and wellbeing declines as young people move through adolescence and adulthood. A clear gender difference can be observed, with girls reporting lower levels of perceived health, lower life satisfaction and more frequent health complaints – and this gender gap increases even more with age.

At PAU Education, we have been strongly committed to promoting healthy habits and lifestyles, and preventing risky behaviors for many years. We design and implement cross-cultural and community-based interventions focused on youth participation. Evidence suggests that top-down and paternalistic approaches have proved unsuccessful. Youth and citizens must take ownership regarding decisions affecting their wellbeing in order to achieve sustainable lifestyle changes.

Our widely-acclaimed European project, Shape Up, displayed an innovative approach to address the increase in the prevalence of childhood obesity across Europe. The methodology enabled children and young people to deal with health matters in competent, democratic and efficient ways. Shape Up was not only child-centered, it also involved the schools and the communities, effectively engaging the population into creating shared and sustainable solutions with greater impact on the long-term.

*"Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children" is a cross-national survey conducted in Europe and North America by the World Health Organization every four years, in order to study health and wellbeing, social environments and health behaviours of boys and girls between 11 and 15 years old.