Children’s health

Protecting the environment to protect children's health
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Despite increased political attention, children’s health is under serious threat: child cancer rates are increasing by more than 1% each year, and climate change will increase rates respiratory and diarrhoeal illnesses.

Children are not just small adults; their bodies, brains and nervous systems are still growing and require specific protection.

In 2004, environment and health ministers of the 52 states in the WHO European region adopted the first Children’s Environment and Health Action Plan (CEHAPE), which aims to bring down rates of children’s illnesses through measures for environmental improvement. Governments are called to act upon 4 Regional Priority Goals:

  • Ensuring public health by improving access to safe water and sanitation,
  • Addressing obesity and injuries through safe environments, physical activity and healthy diet,
  • Preventing disease through improved outdoor and indoor air quality, and
  • Preventing disease arising from chemical, biological and physical environments.

Since 2010, there are now time-bound targets in place for these goals.

HEAL’s children’s environment and health website raises awareness of the environment and health problems and brings examples of positive change to improve children’s health.

Political will to tackle environmental causes of chronic diseases and promote sustainable development can only be achieved by building strong voices, especially among medical professionals, youth and other non-governmental groups, who share their messages with politicians and policy makers.

Our CEHAPE website also allows you to read about the winners from the 2nd CEHAPE Awards – inspiring and innovative projects from around the 52 country European region that promote children’s environment and health.

About HEAL

The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union (EU). We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life. Read more »


HEAL has over 70 member organisations, representing health professionals, not-for-profit health insurers, doctors, nurses, cancer and asthma groups, citizens, women’s groups, youth groups, environmental NGOs, scientists and public health institutes. Members include international and Europe-wide organisations, as well as national and local groups. Read more »

Contact us

Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL)
28 Boulevard Charlemagne
B1000 Brussels, Belgium
Phone: +32 2 234 3640
Fax: +32 2 234 3649
Press: Elke Zander

Direct telephone numbers: HEAL team page.

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