Whole university approach

Context & Rationale

In the UK, with 167 higher education institutions (HEIs) and almost 2.27 million students from increasingly diverse backgrounds and more than 400,000 staff (Higher Education Statistics Agency, 2016), the higher education sector offers enormous potential for the promotion of health and wellbeing.

Universities are large complex settings within which people learn, work and live their lives. In ‘making the case’ for Healthy Universities:

  • Evidence from settings such as schools and workplaces suggests that healthy learners and healthy staff will increase levels of achievement, performance, productivity and reputation – thereby helping universities conduct their core business more effectively.
  • As leaders and agenda-setters in society, universities have a responsibility and opportunity to impact positively on the health and wellbeing of their students and staff – and through their roles in education, research, knowledge exchange and community engagement, they have the potential to make a significant contribution to the long-term health improvement of the population.
  • Universities can also act as a wider ‘generator’ of health and wellbeing in society – through acting as socially and environmentally responsible corporate citizens; and through helping shape the views, values, aspirations and priorities of future decision-makers and community leaders.