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  • Writer's pictureCaterina Sullivan

Intellectual Health for the Global Goals

Updated: Nov 4, 2018

Image credit: Jeff Peterson

This year, we are focusing on a theme of Healthy Not Hungry.

At the Global Goals Australia Campaign, we look at health on five different levels.

The next level of health we will explore is intellectual health.

The University of Arkansas for Medical Science (UAMS) defines intellectual health as the encouragement of “creative, stimulating mental activities”. The definition goes on to say that “an intellectually well person uses the resources available to expand one’s knowledge, improve one’s skills and create potential for sharing with others. They are also organised and structured in their efforts towards creative intellectual pursuits.”

Intellectual health is mostly centred around the achievement of Goal 4: Quality Education.

The fostering of curiosity and the foundations of a desire to learn begins from a young age in early education. This is why Target 4.2: an assurance that all girls and boys will have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education by 2030 is key to ensuring intellectual well-being for all for generations to come.

This needs to be further developed in the primary and secondary school years in accordance with Target 4.1: By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes.

Other targets of Goal 4 include access to tertiary education (Target 4.3), vocational skills and training (Target 4.4 and Target 4.5) and the achievement of literacy and numeracy among a substantial proportion of adults (Target 4.6). These all impact intellectual health.

One of the most important targets for the achievement of the Agenda for Sustainable Development in its entirety is Target 4.7: By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development.

In order to understand the necessity of the achievement of the Global Goals, we must educate every Australian citizen, so they understand the importance of sustainable development; this includes through the all-important application of creative thinking – a core component of intellectual health. Innovation, one of the main objectives of Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, relies on independent, creative and critical thinking.

Good nutrition, an aspect of Goal 2: Zero Hunger, is a key component of intellectual health as prime cognitive activity occurs when the body gets the rights nutrients. To find out more about nutrition in Australia and recommendations, check out our article: Time to Get off the Sofa to Achieve Goal 3!

Intellectual health also has an impact on Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth. By expanding our capacity to think creatively and critically, we are able to stay stimulated with new ideas and share these ideas in order to see economic growth in Australia to fund further progress on the other goals.

Want to know how you can develop your intellectual health? Check out some of the ways suggested by UAMS below!

  • Take a course or workshop in something outside your area of expertise

  • Subscribe to an interesting journal or newsletter

  • Read for fun

  • Learn to appreciate art – attend exhibits, plays, musicals, poetry readings, etc.

  • Explore different ways to use spare time

  • Discover new ways to organise your work and personal life for more efficiency and improved quality of life

This article was originally published on the Global Goals Australia Campaign website.

#healthynothungry #intellectualhealth

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