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The article is devoted to the topical issue of health protection of adolescent students. The interrelation of spiritual and physical health, the essence of the concept of “health-saving competence” of an adolescent is revealed. The topics of a comprehensive informal lecture, forms of its implementation in the educational process of general secondary school (lecture, training, round table, etc.) are presented.
Keywords: adolescent, spiritual health, health-saving competence, complex informal lecture.

Popova O. V.
Doctor of Pedagogical Sciences, Professor,
H. S. Skovoroda Kharkiv National Pedagogical University, Kharkiv, Ukraine

Babak O. M.
is a student of the second (master’s) level of higher education,
Kharkiv H. S. Skovoroda National Pedagogical University, Kharkiv, Ukraine


In recent decades, Ukraine has seen an alarming trend of deteriorating health and behavioral orientation among adolescents. Thus, according to the results of a survey of student youth within the framework of the international project “Health and Behavioral Orientations of Student Youth” in 2018 (such a survey is conducted in Ukraine every 4 years), the state of comprehensive health (the system of physical, mental, and social components of human health) of almost a third of respondents (13,337 students were surveyed in total) is unsatisfactory [1]. An important reason for these statistics is the low level of students’ health competence, their lack of awareness of how to preserve, strengthen and restore their own health in the face of constant physical and mental stress, stress, and social problems.

It should be noted that, despite the extraordinary value of the category of “health”, there is still no universally recognized scientific interpretation of it. The most common definition of health in scientific sources is the one enshrined in the Charter of the World Health Organization (WHO):

Health is a state of complete physical, spiritual and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” [3].

We consider health competence to be a set of knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that contribute to the preservation and promotion of health (own and others), both in the classroom and in extracurricular activities.

We fully agree with scientists [2; 3] who believe that health promotion should not be limited to the notion of strengthening only the somatic (bodily) health of students. This problem needs to be solved in a complex way – preserving the spiritual, mental and physical health of students.

In view of this, it can be argued that solving the problem of health promotion, including for adolescents, requires joint efforts of specialists from different fields – health care workers, teachers, psychologists, sociologists, valeologists, etc. Of particular interest is the cooperation of medical representatives and teachers in organizing and conducting joint work on adolescent health promotion.

In view of the above, the members of the non-profit public organization (NGO) “SciHunt” – O. Babak, a student of H. S. Skovoroda Kharkiv National Pedagogical University, O. Levchenko and M. Lyzogub, students of the Bogomolets National Medical University (Kyiv) – within the framework of the SciYouth (Science for Youth) project, a program of informal lectures aimed at forming the health-saving competence of adolescents was developed, which we consider as an important personal formation that contributes to the preservation of the spiritual and physical health of adolescent students.

The main goal of the lecture is to develop adolescents’ health-saving competence. The introduction of the developed lecture into the educational process of a general secondary education institution involves solving the following tasks:
1) popularizing and increasing the interest of adolescents in a healthy lifestyle and preserving their own health and the health of others;
2) acquiring knowledge and practical skills in health promotion through various forms of education (lectures, trainings, role-playing games, etc.).

Medical professionals – specialists in premedical care, psychiatry, preventive medicine, nutrition, oncology, gynecology, etc. – were invited to develop lectures and conduct classes.

The program of the developed project covers the following topics: search for evidence-based health information, mental health, nutrition, premedical care, hepatitis B and C, HIV, HPV, and cancer.

In the digital age, it is important not only to convince students of the importance of searching for information using Internet resources, but also to prove the complexity and necessity of recognizing reliable information. To accomplish this task, the training cycle includes a practical lesson on “Evidence-based sources of information”, which aims to identify the basic principles of searching for evidence-based health information and to consolidate relevant skills during training exercises.

The content is based on a number of real-life situations related to the negative consequences of people using unreliable health information from the Internet posted by people who are not competent in the medical field. During the lesson, the healthcare professional should point out important details to pay attention to and provide recommendations on how to obtain verified data and reliable sources on health issues.

Since the social environment is not a safe place for the spiritual and mental health of adolescents, their mental health is an important issue, which is the key to either a holistic, balanced future society or a closed and negative world. That is why the next lecture is a psychological training “Mental health: about depression and anxiety, suicide. The impact of bad habits on human health”. The purpose of the training is to equip adolescents with the ability to recognize and identify factors of depression and anxiety in themselves and others, and to make them aware of the negative impact of bad habits (alcohol, drugs, etc.) on a young person’s health.

Against the background of low mental health, adolescents tend to develop destructiveness, so it is important to guide them to a healthy lifestyle, including proper nutrition. The interactive training “Nutrition: How to Assemble Your Plate” is dedicated to these issues, and involves familiarizing students with modern approaches to nutrition and creating and discussing their “ideal plate” individually.

The second cycle of the program covers topics related to the physical condition of a person. Especially in a critical situation, each person needs to be able to recognize and classify the condition of victims and be able to provide the necessary first aid, which requires mastering the appropriate skills. These skills can be acquired by adolescents at such trainings as: “First Aid”, “Infections: Hepatitis B and C, HIV” and “HPV and Oncology. Basics of vaccination”.

The epidemiological situation in the world constantly requires control and prevention of infectious and viral diseases. In this regard, lectures with elements of training have been developed on the topics “Infections: Hepatitis B and C, HIV” and “HPV and Oncology. Basics of vaccination”. Accordingly, the purpose of the first training is to reveal the ways of transmission of hepatitis and HIV and to provide information on ways to prevent these diseases. The purpose of the second training is to provide adolescents with knowledge about the ways of transmission of HPV (human papillomavirus), to familiarize students with the phenomenon of oncogenic viruses and their properties.

Table 1 summarizes the forms provided for in the program of the developed comprehensive informal lecture, as well as indicators of the formation of students’ health competence.

Table 1
Topics of the lecture, forms of teaching and indicators of students’ health competence

Theme Form of training Indicators of students’ health competence formation
Evidence-based sources of information Practical lesson-research Primary skills to find and apply health information in practice.
Mental health: depression and anxiety, suicide.
The impact of bad habits on human health
Lecture and discussion, counseling Ability to recognize and determine the factors of depression and anxiety in oneself and others, to assess the impact of bad habits (alcohol consumption, drug addiction, etc.) on health.
Nutrition: how to “fill your plate” Training with elements of role play The ability to plan your diet and evaluate the effectiveness of diets.
First aid Workshop with the use of staging The ability to assess the state of consciousness of the victim and determine the appropriate algorithm for providing first aid.
Infections: hepatitis B and C, HIV Round table discussion Knowledge of the ways of transmission of hepatitis and HIV and appropriate preventive measures.
HPV and oncology. Basics of vaccination Lecture with elements of training Knowledge of the ways of transmission of HPV (human papillomavirus), knowledge of the nature and properties of oncogenic viruses.

The use of these forms of work within the framework of the developed comprehensive informal lecture will contribute to the development of adolescents’ interest in a healthy lifestyle, the development of a value attitude towards their own health and the health of others, which is an important prerequisite for the formation of adolescent health competence.

List of references

1. Social determination and health indicators of adolescents and youth: based on the results of a sociological study within the framework of the international project “Health and behavioral orientations of student youth”: monograph / O. M. Balakireva et al. Kyiv : Foliant Printing Center, 2019. 127 с.
2. Vashchenko O. Features of teaching students in the conditions of health-preserving pedagogy. URL: (accessed 06.11.2022).
3. Popova O. V. Health-saving educational technologies in primary school. Theory and methodology of teaching and upbringing of preschool children of primary school age: from history to innovation: monograph: Sumy State Pedagogical University named after A. S. Makarenko, 2015. С. 192-212.