Health education is a key element in comprehensive health care. The primary purpose of health education is to establish patterns of living that will discourage disease and enhance well-being. Beginning in early childhood and throughout life we make decisions that affect our health. For the most part, these decisions are made without much contact with a health care system; yet, their cumulative impact has a greater effect on the length and quality of life than the effect of all of our medical care combined. Many of our nation's major health problems are caused by or are exacerbated by personal practices (life-styles) detrimental to health. Modification of these practices might improve health more than any spectacular biomedical breakthrough.
The Committee on School Health believes that community health education programs are a viable method of changing poor health practices; therefore, the Committee makes the following recommendations:
1. Health education is a subject that should be taught as part of basic education. Health education deserves the same priority in the curriculum as the traditional subjects that are taught in school.
2. Planned integrated programs of comprehensive health education should be a requirement for students from kindergarten through grade 12. Instruction should be given by teachers specifically qualified and, if possible, certified to teach health education. The health curriculum should be appropriate for the children's age and maturity at each grade level. A comprehensive health education program should include in integrated fashion the following subjects: physiology, genetics, accident prevention, venereal disease, alcoholism, mental health, parenting, sex education, medication and drug use and abuse, environmental and consumer health, nutrition, exercise, preventive medicine, anatomy, and bacteriology. The comprehensive approach to health education is more successful in developing positive health habits than approaching health education by isolated health subjects, such as "Drug Abuse Control" or "Venereal Disease Control."
- Copyright © 1985 by the American Academy of Pediatrics