Health Promotion Schools Programmes - Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke
Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke
Health Promotion Schools Programmes

Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke offers a range of health promotion talks and programmes for schools.

NICHS’s Schools Programme is based on the belief that prevention is better than a cure and that it is important to educate children so that they can make healthy choices as they grow up and avoid future illness.

Many of the key health behaviours such as smoking, obesity, lack of physical activity and poor nutrition are significant in the development of chronic disease.  These behaviours increase an individual’s risk of developing of CHD, Stroke and COPD. In Northern Ireland, 25% of children aged 2 – 10 years old are either overweight (19%) or obese (6%).

with-the-blocked-arterySmoking is another area that NICHS must tackle with children. Statistics from 2010 suggest that 83% of smokers start in their teens. Figures showed that 8% of 11 – 15 year olds in Northern Ireland smoked. NICHS estimate that 12 children every day, 86 per week and 372 per month take up the habit in Northern Ireland. The estimate is based on NHS figures on trends for drinking and drug use among young people up to the age of 15.

Therefore, NICHS must tackle these issues with young people to aid the prevention of chest, heart and stroke illnesses in the future.  The schools programme targets primary and secondary school aged children to try and modify their behaviour before long term damage can occur.

In 2014-15, NICHS reached 2,354 pupils by delivering Level 1 health talks to 6 primary and 4 secondary schools and 3 youth clubs, and through our Level 3 Chester’s Challenge Programme to 22 primary schools.


What Children Say

We asked three children what messages they would give to adults about being healthy. Their advice is:

  • “We shouldn’t eat any more than one piece/bar of chocolate a day.”
  • “We should get 60 minutes per day of exercise.”
  • “Chester teaches us smoking is really bad for you.”

How cute! Let’s take their advice!

What Teachers say

  • “This is a brilliant programme! The children have really enjoyed all the activities and they have learnt a lot from it.”
  • “The use of the interactive quizzes was excellent! The second session which included physical activity was a real fun change from just delivering it in the classroom.”
  • “Children were engaged throughout. When they weren’t sure about an answer they remained focused to find out.”

_mg_0272Mr J Duddy is a P5 teacher at Maghaberry Primary School, which took part for the first time this year. He said: “This year NICHS visited my primary class over three weeks and it was fantastic. During the visits the children and I learned about the importance of healthy eating, the eatwell guide, how these food groups help our body and how much of each we should consume. Some of this was a great shock to the kids!

“We also discussed the importance of exercise and physical activity and how this benefits our health. The children thoroughly enjoyed the activities in which they competed against each other in a series of mini games. It was also very interesting to learn how to locate and measure our heart rate, which the children still talk about before and after PE.

“Finally, we talked about the risks of smoking and how it affects our health. The children really enjoyed having their picture taken and seeing the effects of smoking as they aged.

“Overall, the children thoroughly enjoyed the visits from NICHS and still talk about Jessica and Katie and all the fun and interesting facts they learned over the three weeks. We can’t wait until next year.”


Choose Healthy Stuff Talks

Primary and Secondary School Health Promotion Talks

– 30 minute or 60 minute talk;

For more information, please click here to download a PDF about our Schools and Community Health Programme, or email our Health Promotion department on

Chester’s Challenge (Primary Extended Schools Only)


Three week P5 or P6 schools programme:

  • Physical activity and the heart
  • Eat your way to health
  • Stamp out smoking

These workshops have been updated and are supported by a workbook and handouts.

For more information, please click here to download a PDF about Chester’s Challenge.

We would ask that £1 per student is donated to NICHS for our Primary School programmes, and £2 per student for our Secondary School programmes or alternatively, your school can fundraise for NICHS.