21.10.2015 IN FOCUS

Adult education can improve health systems

The topic of health concerns both individuals and society as a whole. EAEA’s policy paper on Adult Education and Health provides recommendations for policy-makers but also adult education and health providers.

To be and to stay physically and mentally healthy is linked to knowledge about living a healthy life at all stages of life, having access to health care and understanding health information. Non-formal adult education plays a key role in equipping people with health competences. Adult education is linked with health prevention, healthy lifestyles, and health literacy. Learning itself is a great source of personal empowerment and increases one’s sense of well-being, mental health and personal happiness (see BeLL study).

A number of studies show that wealthier people are also healthier. Adult education can help to equalize this situation and empower people with lower incomes and lower educational levels. Many people do not have access to health education and/or information. Policy-makers have a key role to play in ensuring access to health education for everyone. Health literacy is the first step to preventing illness and taking care of one’s health.

Adult education offers a fantastically diverse provision of courses in the field of health education, for individuals but also for practitioners. Health education on a global level is also essential and there again, adult education can do a lot. Learning is also a creator of well-being as such: research proves that learning is beneficial for one’s well-being and personal happiness.

The paper focuses on three main topics: health literacy; adult education and health and well-being; and health courses in adult education. It is available for download at EAEA's policy page on health in English, French and Russian.

Health is one of EAEA’s key themes in 2015.

More on this topic

EAEA policy page on health
EAEA Grundtvig Award 2015