National Audit Office of the Republic of Lithuania

Press Release


03/12/2019

Effective investment into child health promotion would pay-back: 1 euro would give a return of 1.3 euro

Healthy life-style requires development of life skills to start in early childhood, therefore child health promotion is so important. Lithuanian health statistics show that only 43% of people over the age of 15 claim to be in good health, while the OECD average is 68%.

The National Audit Office — the supreme audit institution (SAI) — has carried out an audit entitled “Is promotion of child health ensured”, which shows that while a healthy diet is on the rise, there is a lack of attention towards development of work and rest habits and children’s daily physical activity is not ensured. There is also a lack of integration of child health promotion into general education. According to the auditors’ estimate, investment of 1 euro to child health promotion at an earlier age of 3-11 years would give a return of 1.3 euro in the future: this would reduce the rates of morbidity, thus saving the costs for treatment of Compulsory Health Insurance Fund and State Social Insurance Fund respectively, and would create higher added value.

The World Health Organisation recommends a minimum of 60 minutes of physical activity a day for children, however the audit results show that 7% of pre-school and general school children are physically active for less than 60 minutes and 44% of schools do not monitor this at all. During the 2018-2019 school year, 33% of schools did not provide 3 hours a week to a physical education in any class, and 44% did not organise a single event on working and rest periods.

“Involvement of parents, adoptive parents and guardians in events organised by schools is low. Not all educational institutions ensure involvement of health professionals in at least one health event per year, as 6% of institutions do not have them and in 85% of schools they work at part-time basis. Teachers should be equipped with more professional development programmes on health promotion, which currently account for 0.7% of all programmes’, said Vilma Maslauskienė, Chief Adviser to the Social Welfare Audit Department.

SAIs’ audit also showed that most of the educational establishments lack appropriate infrastructure and equipment for physical education: 10.3% of them do not have their own sports facilities, 28.6% of institutions use multi-purpose halls to deliver physical education classes, 19.4% of schools and 25% of pre-school education establishments are not equipped with the necessary physical education equipment.

With a view to properly formulating and implementing public policies in the area of child health promotion and to ensure investment in this area, the SAI has made recommendations to the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport. Their implementation will lead to the selection of the most effective preventive measures for children, child health promotion will be better integrated into education process, and the quality of performance of teachers and public health professionals will improve.

 

National Audit Office of the Republic of Lithuania
Pamėnkalnio str. 27, LT-01113 Vilnius
www.vkontrole.lt