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Health Education in Schools

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Health Education in Schools

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Health education provides information about the human body and the factors that promote or damage health.

Written by

Dr. Shuchi Jain

Medically reviewed by

Dr. J. N. Naidu

Published At November 2, 2022
Reviewed AtMay 6, 2024

Introduction:

Parents are always more concerned about their children's academic education, including - reading, writing, and learning. A comprehensive health education program plays a crucial role in a child's education, from kindergarten to high school. Health education teaches children physical, mental, social, and psychological health (overall well-being). It helps students to make healthy choices and avoid risky behaviors. Health education training mainly focuses on preserving health, avoiding illnesses, and training students to make healthier decisions in their lives.

What Do You Mean by Health Education?

Health education provides general knowledge for health promotion and disease prevention. In addition, it inspires adolescents to acquire healthy beliefs and knowledge and adopt healthy lifestyle choices. Health education includes health services, physical education, psychological services, nutrition and food programs, health promotion and a healthy environment, disease prevention, etc.

What Is the Goal of Teaching Health Education?

The growing age of children is sensitive in terms of adopting healthy behavior. This behavior has lifelong consequences. In schools, the young ones might come across many health themes such as,

  • Physical growth and development.

  • Nutrition intake.

  • Diseases and their prevention.

  • Mental health.

  • Reproductive health.

  • Drug and alcohol abuse prevention, etc.

Health education aims not only to educate children about health but also to promote healthy behavior and a positive body attitude. Through these health education schemes, schools are motivating students to participate in learning life skills and not only remain limited to academic skills.

Health Education in Schools

What Role Does Health Education Play in Your Child's Life?

Health education was not given much importance earlier and was underestimated. But with raised health awareness, people learned the importance of health education at home, in school, and in communities. Before a child approaches puberty and adolescence, they should be aware of various healthy and risky behaviors. If they make inappropriate decisions, it might prove fatal and even lead to death.

These choices include,

  • Alcohol consumption.

  • Tobacco and drug abuse.

  • Sexual behaviors (abstinence, prevention of pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases).

  • Risky driving.

  • Other risk-taking behaviors.

It is said that children should be educated two years before the start of these behaviors. The right age is when they are seven to eight years old. Children should be taught what is right for them and which behavior can result in harmful consequences. Positive health behaviors should be cultivated in them in the early years of childhood. Exercise and good nutrition should be part of the daily routine to live a healthy life.

How Can Parents Contribute to Health Education Programs?

Health education programs become more effective with the involvement of parents.

  • Parents can encourage their children and reinforce what they learn at home.

  • The schools provide basic information about healthy decisions, for example: how to refuse alcohol, tobacco, and drug use. Parents can carry forward this and direct their children towards the correct behavior.

  • Many parents feel a barrier while talking with their children about puberty, sex, reproduction, and sexually transmitted diseases. But parents should understand their role and become an expert for their children in teaching them moral and family values.

  • Parents should be encouraged to participate in educational seminars along with their children. Many parents discuss problems and share solutions with other parents through this program and find it worthy.

Role of Schools in Health Education:

  • School health programs are one of the nation's most excellent strategies to prevent health and social issues. After family, schools are the only place that prepares the young ones to become productive adults. Schools play a significant role in influencing students' behaviors.

  • School interventions can foster effective education, promote healthy practices and prevent destructive behavior.

  • For many young people, school is where they grow, get proper nurturing and support and learn health information and positive behavior skills.

  • Heath and success are directly proportional to each other. Good health facilitates growth and development, while education enhances children's knowledge about health. Schools can only achieve the mission of health education when the students and staff are healthy, physically fit, mentally stable, and socially apt. Poor physical and mental health among children prevents them from showing up in school, paying attention in class, managing anger, having destructive habits, etc.

  • Schools play an essential role in reducing health risks through effective health education. It becomes more effective when given by qualified teachers who connect students to health services, encourage parents and community participation, and instill a positive relationship.

  • A well-designed and well-followed school health program influences multiple health outcomes, such as reduced sexual risk behaviors (HIV, sexually transmitted diseases), unintended pregnancy, drugs, and substance abuse.

What Are the Characteristics of an Effective Health Program?

There are eight elements characterizing high-quality school health programs.

These elements are as follows,

1. Shifting Focus on the Priority Behaviors:

School health programs were initiated to shift focus on priority behaviors that affect health and learning. Various health behaviors account for two-thirds of the morbidity and mortality in children. These behaviors include:

  • Unhealthy dietary habits. Tobacco and drug use.

  • Lack of physical activity.

  • Sexual behavior results in HIV, AIDS, other sexually transmitted diseases, and unintended pregnancy.

  • Intentional injuries (violence and suicide).

  • Unintentional injuries (vehicle crashes).

  • Cardiovascular diseases, cancers, and diabetes. People can purchase diabetes testing kit with the supervision of a physician.

  • Children and adults must learn and practice health-enhancing choices before initiating health-damaging behaviors.

2. An Influential Support System:

A health deteriorating or health-enhancing behavior depends on the support system surrounding the children, including friends, family, and community. Three factors have been identified that help young children overcome stress.

They are -

  • Supportive relationship.

  • Active participation in school activities.

  • Students who feel connected to schools are more likely to adopt health-enhancing behaviors.

3. Essential Components of the Health System:

A complete set of programs is needed to run the health program effectively. These components include,

  • Health education.

  • School health services.

  • A healthy environment.

  • Physical education.

  • Proper nutrition in school.

  • Counseling, social and psychological benefits.

  • Health promotion program.

4. Joint Effort:

The joint effort makes healthy development of family, schools, institutions, neighbors, society, and media.

5. A Well-Coordinated Approach:

Programs should be led in a coordinated manner. Roles and responsibilities should be evenly distributed among school health coordinators, advisory councils, interdisciplinary committees, teams, and other networks. A joint health program reduces ambiguity and ensures the successful completion of the program.

6. Efficient Program Planning:

School work teams, health committees, and coordinating councils must use a programming tool to ensure continuous improvement.

7. Staff Up-Gradation Program:

Another key to effective programming is to upgrade staff knowledge. Unfortunately, many teachers received their training a long ago when problems were different than today. Thus continuous up-gradation is required to meet the demands and difficulties children face.

8. Active Participation:

Peer involvement is essential in decision-making, active participation, and problem-solving skills. In addition, students are more likely to turn to peers for help and act similarly as they recommend. Peer involvement thus pays additional benefits for the peer education programs.

Conclusion:

Health education is a part of routine education that addresses various dimensions of health. It is designed to motivate and help students maintain health, prevent diseases and avoid risky behaviors. School health services are designed to protect and promote health. These services are designed to ensure prompt use of health care services, control and prevent communicable diseases, provide education and counseling services, provide emergency care, etc., for individuals, families, and the community. Since health is linked to educational achievements, promoting health in schools is a must for its success. Moreover, schools are the mode of facilitating health-enhancing behaviors. Thus a well-coordinated school health program proves beneficial in the overall development of the students.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.

How Can Health Education in Schools Be Improved?

Making health education important in schools is essential in helping kids and teenagers eat well and engage in regular physical activity. By instituting wellness policies and practices and utilizing a successful health education curriculum, schools can offer learning opportunities to promote these healthy behaviors.

2.

What Exactly Does “Health Education” Mean?

The practice of educating people about health is known as health education. Environmental, physical, social, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual health are all various aspects of health education.

3.

Why Is Health Education Crucial for Young People?

Health education in young people will help them realize the following:
- Recognize the importance of personal wellness on many levels.
- Effects of chronic illness on poor health and quality of life.
- The financial cost of an unhealthy population.

4.

What Three Aims Do Health Education Programmes Have?

The three aims of health education programs are as follows:
- Encourage physical growth.
- Raise people's awareness of health issues. 
- Share information on disease prevention.

5.

What Five Goals Does Health Education Have?

The five goals of health education programs are as follows:
- Enhance health.
- Offer resources
- Fighting illusions.
- Combat disease.
- Enhance decision-making.

6.

Which Techniques Are Used in Health Education?

The techniques of health education are as follows:
- Individual Strategy. 
- Group strategy.
- General Approach.
- Lectures.
- Charts.
- Posters.
- Movies.
- Exhibits. 
- Flashcards.
- Flannel graph.

7.

What Function Does a Teacher Do in Health Education?

The function of a teacher in health education is as follows:
- Establishes the framework for program preparation.
- Identifies potential health issues in each particular group.
- Plan health education strategies, interventions, and programs. 
- Takes care of the community's needs assessment.
- Put health education programs, interventions, and strategies into action.
- Conducts studies and evaluations about health education.

8.

What Elements Make up a Health Education Programme in Schools?

The school health program is made up of several elements, including
- School health services.
- Health Promotion and Education
- Nutritional assistance.
- Fitness Instruction.
- Psychological and counseling services.

9.

What Are Activities for Health Education?

Activities that promote health are examples include:
- Participation of the intended audience.
- Completing a community needs assessment to determine the community's resources, priorities, and requirements. 
- Activities designed to improve participants' knowledge and skills.

10.

What Portion of the Health Education Process Is Crucial?

Through efficient health education, schools can play a significant role in lowering adolescent health risks.  Sexual health and other related topics (such as violence prevention, mental and emotional health, food and nutrition, etc.) are the specific content and skills covered in health education. These topics are frequently organized into a course of study or program and are frequently summed up in a curriculum framework.

11.

Which Main Characteristics Make an Excellent Health Educator?

The skills that certain healthcare workers employ to carry out their duties are known as health educator skills. Health educators need to be competent in their jobs. Thus they need to have particular abilities, including problem-solving and communication.

12.

What Are Health Issues Prevalent in Schools?

The main health issues prevalent in schools are as follows:
- Ear infections, coughs, and colds.
- Vomiting and diarrhea.
- Parasite infections.

13.

How Can We Keep Schools Clean and Healthy?

Cleaning tables and desks daily are one of the finest strategies for maintaining cleanliness in the classroom. Doing so can lessen the amount of dirt and bacteria on these surfaces. Use an efficient disinfectant. Wearing gloves while cleaning tables and desks is also advised.
Dr. J. N. Naidu
Dr. J. N. Naidu

General Practitioner

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