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Can health education in American schools be seen as a success and what is in store for the future to make it even more effective in the US and beyond?

Health education was introduced to increase students’ knowledge on health ed issues, improve their skills and cultivate positive attitudes towards health. It has been used as a means to motivate kids to take care of their bodies, prevent diseases and minimize risky behaviors. Can we say that it has positively impacted our society and brought about a health change? Are there political issues in education that have barred the success factor and is there something that can be done to increase effectiveness?

Kristi Hammond

in Education News

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Victoria Fowler on February 6, 2018

Health ed in the 80s and 90s was focused on nutrition and personal health. Health teachers as we crossed the new millennium line started putting increased focus on drug education and sex education. One thing that has remained standard is the fact that kids are taught from an early age so that the knowledge they gain can be effective in their adult life.

A child’s school years are a very sensitive especially when it involves adopting health behavior which could have lifelong consequences. The education system has been tailored in such a way that a child is exposed to a variety of health themes like disease prevention, proper nutrition, reproduction, physical growth and development, drug and alcohol abuse prevention, mental health among others. The whole point of this type of education is so that a child’s knowledge foster positive attitudes towards his own well-being. It’s more about learning life skills and not just academic skills.

One of the health education issues that have been faced and have affected the success of the program is lack of parental involvement. There’s only so much that a child can learn in school, but if his/her parent does not actively get involved, then the lesson will start in class and remain there. Conversations and activities at home help to enforce what the students learn in the classroom. I think what the future has in store is defining the role of parents as co-educators. The school provides basic health knowledge and theoretical implementation methods while the parents help enforce it by teaching them family values and being good health examples.

Political issues in ed do in fact affect health education because major changes to the education system have resulted from federal law or policy. Policies should be integrated into politics benefiting the future of the next generation. In order to keep improving health education then policymakers need to have the best interests of the children at heart. These policies must keep evolving with time seeing as kids are facing new problems today that have been brought about by technology that ends up affecting their mental health. Such an example is the increasing number of children battling with depression and even suicide that has been brought on by social media. In order to prosper, educational institutions, political institutions and the family institution have to work hand in hand to ensure success.

Kurt Pricea year ago

I couldn’t agree more! Health education has been successful thus far. What we need to do as a country is to beef up the training that these health educators receive. The quality of health ed should be the same regardless of whether the schools are in high or low-income areas. The curriculum should be constantly under revision to accommodate the ever-changing world that the kids are growing up in. If it isn’t relevant to a pre-teen in this day and age then it will not have the intended impact.

I also recommend moving away from the classroom walls and making the classes more interactive. The children can visit health facilities once in a while and find out first-hand what the effects or failing to care for your health are. This will break the monotony of the class and give the students more insight on the topic at hand and make it have a lasting effect.


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