Melbourne, 27 June 2022 – Leading life, health and wellbeing insurer AIA Australia has announced the launch of the AIA Healthiest Schools program, designed to inspire young Australians to better understand the behaviours that will help them live a healthier, longer, better life.
The program has been designed by global education specialist, EVERFI, and peer-reviewed by Australian teachers, and includes content covering themes of Healthy Eating, Active Lifestyles, Mental Wellbeing and Health and Sustainability.
CEO and Managing Director of AIA Australia, Damien Mu said, "At AIA Australia, we have a dream to champion Australia to be the healthiest and best protected nation in the world. However, the choices and behaviours that impact our health and wellbeing can be entrenched from a young age. We are seeing some concerning trends, which is why we want to get more involved in health education."
Australian research shows:
- only 10% of Australian children meet both the physical activity and sedentary screen-based behaviour guidelines1
- children are exposed to junk food marketing almost 30 times per day and are highly susceptible to its messages2
- in 2020, 43% of young people said that they felt stress either all of the time or most of the time, with females twice as likely as males to feel this way3
- half of all the mental health conditions experienced at some point in people’s lives will have started by age 14.4
"We believe it's crucial that we focus on health promotion and prevention to change this narrative. We're excited to launch AIA Healthiest Schools so we can inspire young Aussies to eat well, move well, think well and plan well so they can develop lasting positive lifestyle habits that will help them lead healthier, longer, better lives," said Mr Mu.
To ensure that the program would meet local education needs, EVERFI conducted research amongst 800 teachers across Australia, Hong Kong, Thailand and Vietnam. Findings from the Australian teachers surveyed included:
- 93% agreed that schools should support a well-rounded, healthy lifestyle, but only 46% felt there is currently enough done in schools to support this
- 86% agreed that there is a need for more resources and education that take a holistic approach to health
- 84% agreed that the pandemic has impacted on students' mental health negatively, and
- 81% felt it is more important to teach about mental health and wellbeing now compared with prior to the pandemic.
The AIA Healthiest Schools program will provide teachers with free, engaging curriculum-linked resources that can be easily adapted into existing teaching plans. Developed by educators, these resources will enable teachers to effectively engage their students in efforts to improve the health and wellbeing of the whole school community.
The program will include a competition to motivate participating schools to showcase their impact and success in driving better health outcomes amongst students. The competition will also serve as a platform for schools to build communities that share best practices and spark innovative ideas around promoting health and wellbeing. Winning schools across the region will be rewarded with world-class equipment, resources and access to expert advice which will address the most pressing challenges identified by individual schools and communities. These prizes will accelerate their health initiatives and instil a strong foundation for sustainable healthy living.
The program, which has been developed by AIA Group for launch across several markets, is aligned with AIA's Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategy and will encourage healthy living habits among students aged five to 16 by promoting healthy eating, active lifestyles, mental wellbeing, and environmental sustainability in schools. In February this year, AIA Group set an ambition to engage a billion people globally to live Healthier, Longer, Better Lives by 2030 through the AIA One Billion initiative. The AIA Healthiest Schools program will contribute to this goal as it engages, inspires and educates communities to lead healthier lifestyles.
Teaching resources will be available to download for free from November 2022, and will include a variety of engaging lessons, presentations, films and activity sheets. The AIA Healthiest Schools Challenge will then kick off in Australia in Term One 2023, providing schools an opportunity to showcase their healthy initiatives and win exclusive prizes, with a total prize pool of US $100,000.
Find out more details and register by visiting www.ahs.aia.com.
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