Sao Paulo Declaration on Integrative Pediatrics

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created by Tido von Schoen-Angerer, Vice-President, International Federation of Anthroposophic Medical Associations

The very first international symposium on integrative pediatrics took place in Sao Paulo on 22-23 November 2019 and was organized by the department of Pediatrics of the University of Sao Paulo. It brought together 300 participants and speakers from different parts of the Americas and Europe. The participants adopted the following statement which explains the importance of this approach for the benefit of children.

Sao Paulo Declaration on Integrative Pediatrics

We, the participants of the 1st International Symposium on Integrative Pediatrics taking place in Sao Paulo from 22 – 23 November 2019, coming from ten different countries, adopted this declaration.

Good pediatric practice

Good pediatric practice supports the healthy development of the child from the antenatal period through adulthood in the context of the family, larger community and the environment. Good pediatric practice covers the entire spectrum from prevention and treatment to end-of-life care. It is built on shared decision making, empowering children and families by respecting their values and goals. Good pediatric practice includes multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary collaboration among health care practitioners and educators to foster the development of the child to become a healthy individual.

Good pediatric practice further includes the preservation of the natural environment as health of individuals is inextricably linked to the health of the planet and children need contact with nature for healthy development, nourishment and healing.

Child health and development under threat

Child health and development is under threat by a multitude of factors, ranging from trauma, poverty, social inequity and neglect, to the influences of unhealthy diet, environmental hazards and inappropriate media exposure. 

Integrative pediatrics

Integrative pediatrics enhances good pediatric practice by integrating conventional biopsychosocial medicine with complementary and traditional health approaches, informed by evidence and best practice. Appropriate therapeutic approaches and healthcare disciplines are used to achieve optimal health and healing, while recognizing and respecting the unique contribution from different medical systems. 

Integration into health systems

We consider integrative pediatrics as integral to the goal of the WHO Traditional Medicine Strategy 2014-2023 of integrating conventional and traditional and complementary medicine into health care systems. Integrative pediatrics aims to contribute to Universal Health Coverage and the Sustainable Developing Goal 3 on Health & Wellbeing. We also affirm the rights of the child as articulated in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and our alignment with the declarations on traditional, complementary and integrative medicine from Beijing in 2008Stuttgart in 2016 and Berlin in 2017.

Commitment and call for action

We commit ourselves to the health and wellbeing of children, and call on others to join us in the following specific actions: 

1. Clinical practice :

  • Strenghten family and community networks through our practice and align our care with the child’s context – their family, community and environment
  • Support the appropriate, safe and effective use of traditional and complementary health approaches within pediatrics
  • Promote lifestyle solutions for prevention, including on nutrition, activity, nature, creativity, rest, resilience, and connection with others
  • Contribute to choosing wisely, such that unnecessary, harmful, or ineffective treatments are avoided
  • Promote the preservation of the natural environment in our practice and through health promotion activities
  • Practice integration and dialogue between traditional and complementary approaches, respecting the singularities of each model while striving for cohesive integration in the service of child wellbeing

2. Training: 

  • Engage in training of health care professionals on integrative pediatrics concepts, prevention and treatment approaches and interdisciplinary working models
  • Promote the inclusion of integrative pediatric approaches into academic training curricula
  • Provide educational resources for patients, their families and the public

3. Research: 

  • Conduct research to evaluate efficacy and safety of integrative pediatric approaches
  • Conduct research on the implementation of traditional and complementary pediatric practices
  • Promote research to develop concepts and explore mechanisms of action of traditional and complementary approaches

4. Policy: 

  • Advocate for the rights and wellbeing of the child and the preservation of the natural environment
  • Advocate for the inclusion of integrative pediatric approaches into health policies, providing children and families with broader prevention and treatment choices
  • Advocate for the inclusion of integrative pediatric approaches for health promotion in schools