POSITION STATEMENT ON SCHOOL HEALTH EDUCATION
SCHOOL HEALTH EDUCATION is more important today than at any time in the history of our nation. Mortality and morbidity rates show clearly that health problems are reaching our youth in increasing numbers. Among youth and young adults, only four causes account for nearly three-quarters of all mortality and a great amount of morbidity and social problems. Motor vehicle crashes cause 29% of all deaths among this age group (40% of these are alcohol related), homicide causes 20%, suicide causes 12%, and other injuries (such as from falls, fires, drownings) cause 11%. Although not characterized in these mortality statistics, every year nearly one quarter of all new HIV infections, one quarter of all new infections with other sexually transmitted diseases, and nearly one million pregnancies occur among our nation's teenagers. New Texas statistics show that 22% of 4th graders, 19% of 8th graders, and 16% of 11th graders are overweight to obese and Type II Diabetes virtually unheard of in children 10 years ago is appearing in children as young as 5 years old. This new epidemic of obesity and physical inactivity as declared by the U.S. Surgeon General, sets up today’s youth for severe chronic disease as adults and our nation at risk for financial ruin in the wake of the medical costs from the casualties of this social war.
School health education represents one broad scale effort our state can make for improving the health of Texas youth. However, in order to be successful, the curriculum must be comprehensive and coordinated. Comprehensive School Health Education is about teaching children how to make healthy choices. Whereas, Coordinated School Health is about surrounding them with healthy choices. Comprehensive School Health Education includes the development, delivery, and evaluation of a planned instructional program and other activities for students, their parents and the school staff. It is designed to influence the health knowledge, attitudes, and skills of these individuals. The health education curriculum involves the identification of specific components for the health education classroom describing content, learning activities, and evaluation activities; and, the coordination and integration of health content with other subject matter areas. School personnel and curriculum directors working closely with the local School Health Advisory Council should develop the curriculum. CLICK HERE for additional information. Those who teach health education should have a genuine interest in the field of health education and have teacher certification in health education.