The American Academy of Pediatrics has long supported preventive health measures as part of comprehensive health care to all children and youth. Health education of children is an essential ingredient in the prevention of disease and the promotion of good health and optimal development.
Good health is a dynamic state of physical, mental, and social well-being which is influenced by many environmental and hereditary factors over which an individual exercises varying degrees of control. It is a constantly changing entity, and acquisition of good health should never be left to chance.
Many Americans do not understand, accept, or utilize current biologic, psychologic, and social knowledge. They obviously are not profiting from medical and technological achievements. The dissemination of general health information and its utilization for healthful living both need to be improved.
Parents and parental attitudes are the most important and basic elements of any successful health education program. Health education begins during infancy in the home, and the school is a supplementary and complementary element to the home experiences. Further development, correction, and reinforcement of knowledge, attitudes, and habits of health begun in early life should be among the essential objectives of formal education.
The pediatrician is experienced in caring for the total child and is well aware of personal and social tragedies that might have been avoided by adequate health education, therefore, he is especially sensitive to the need for optimal health education programs in the schools. Health education is a core element in comprehensive health care delivery. Understanding of this fact by schools and parents is essential if all children are to enjoy the good health and successful living potentially available to them.
- Copyright © 1973 by the American Academy of Pediatrics