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Why Health Education Is Important

Much of this format follows the excellent resources available in Rhode Island, from the

Why should I care about Health education?

Health education builds students' knowledge, skills, and positive attitudes about health. Health education teaches about physical, mental, emotional and social health. It motivates students to improve and maintain their health, prevent disease, and reduce risky behaviors.

Health education curricula and instruction help students learn skills they will use to make healthy choices throughout their lifetime. Effective curricula result in positive changes in behavior that lower student risks around:

alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, injury prevention, mental and emotional health, nutrition, physical activity, prevention of diseases and sexuality and family life.

Health education promotes learning in other subjects! One study showed that reading and math scores of third and fourth grade students who received comprehensive health education were significantly higher than those who did not. In general, healthy students learn better. Numerous studies have shown that healthier students tend to do better in school. They have higher attendance, have better grades, and perform better on tests.

What are New Hampshire's State requirements for Health education in schools?

NH Minimum Standards for Public School Approval (Ed 306.40) and NH HIV and Health Education Law (RSA 186.11 and RSA 189.10) give the New Hampshire requirements for Health education.

What are some of the best practices for schools around Health education?

Best practices in Health education provide skills-focused instruction that follows a comprehensive, sequential, culturally appropriate K-12 Health education curriculum that addresses all of the New Hampshire Health Education Minimum Standards.

Address the following in Health education instruction:

Assessing personal vulnerability to health risk-taking;
Accurately assessing health risk-taking of peers;
Analyzing the influence of family, peers, culture, and the media on health behaviors; and
Connecting with others who affirm and reinforce health-promoting norms, beliefs, and behaviors.

Allocate funds and release time to support annual professional development for teachers of Health on the following:

Teaching students with physical, medical, or cognitive disabilities;
Teaching students of various cultural backgrounds;
Teaching students with limited English proficiency;
Using interactive teaching methods, such as role-plays or cooperative group activities;
Teaching essential skills for behavior change and guiding student practice of these skills;
Teaching health-promoting social norms and beliefs;
Classroom management techniques, such as social skills training, environmental modification, conflict resolution and mediation, and behavior management;
Strategies for involving parents, families, and others in student learning;
Assessing students' performance in health education;
Medical updates on health information and health trends.

  • Ensure that Health education instruction focuses not only on teaching content knowledge but on teaching skills, including:

Decision-making, Problem-solving, Accessing reliable health information Goal-setting, Communication, Negotiation and refusal, Assertiveness, and Advocacy skills.

  • Have one or more than one person who oversees or coordinates Health education.
  • Involve parents and families in Health education.
  • Make sure that the Health education curriculum is planned, sequential, and developmentally appropriate to better address all of the health instruction outcomes (required content areas).
  • Provide health information to parents and families through educational materials sent home and involvement in school-sponsored activities.
  • Provide opportunities for Health educators to coordinate instruction with teachers of other subjects and integrate Health into other content areas, particularly Science, Physical Education, and Family & Consumer Sciences.
  • Require that the lead Health education teacher in each school have New Hampshire certification in Health education.
  • Review and update the curriculum on a regular basis - at most, every five years.

What data are available about Health education in New Hampshire?

CDC's School Health Policies and Programs Study Web site has data on various health topics and the extent to which they are covered in health education classes, as well as a summary of state-level policies Acrobat Reader related to health education.

NH Youth Risk Behavior Survey Results provide data about risky behavior in youth grades 9-12.

School Health Profile Results provide basic statewide data about policies and practices related to health education and related topics in New Hampshire middle and high schools.

I'm a parent; where do I go for parent information or resources about Health education?

Center for Health and Health Care in Schools' Parent Resource Center
The Parents' Resource Center provides two types of information: Learn Now - a Web portal that provides valuable links to parent-friendly resources on child and adolescent health issues, and Act Now - a guide written by CHHCS to help parents assess health-related services and programs at their child's schools.

I'm a teacher; what resources are available on Health education?

NH Health Education Curriculum Guidelines
Provides a model of standards-based instruction and assessment that should be adapted to meet community needs at the local level.

NH Department of Education HIV/Health Education
Provides information about NH HIV/Health education laws and minimum standards, the NH Health Education Curriculum Guidelines, health data, and other resources available.

National Health Education Standards
National Health Education Standards provide a guide for enhancing preparation and continuing education of teachers.

Michigan Model for Health
This curriculum facilitates interdisciplinary learning through lessons that integrate health education into other curricula.

Federal Resources for Educational Excellence(FREE)
The U.S. Department of Education offers easy to find teaching resources on federal government Web sites.

The Community Guide (Guide to Community Preventive Services)
This CDC site provides an overview of evidence-based curricula, programs, and policies for a number of health topics (e.g. nutrition, tobacco, teen pregnancy, etc.).

Discovery Education's Health Lesson Plans Library
This popular site offers a variety of lesson plans and other teaching resources for health educators.

KidsHealth in the Classroom (Nemours Foundation)
This site offers free health curriculum materials for teachers of all grades and subject areas. Each teacher's guide includes discussion questions, activities, and reproducible handouts and quizzes - all aligned to national health education standards.

RubiStar is a free tool to help teachers create quality rubrics.

teAchnology's Rubrics page
This is another online tool for creating rubrics.

Authentic Assessment Toolbox
This toolbox is a how-to Web site on creating authentic tasks, rubrics and standards for measuring and improving student learning.

New Hampshire Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (NHAHPERD)
The New Hampshire affiliate of the AAHPERD professional association for health educators, physical educators, and those involved in leisure, fitness, dance, and other specialties related to achieving a healthy lifestyle.

American Association for Health Education
The American Association for Health Education (AAHE) serves health educators and other professionals who promote the health of all people. AAHE encourages, supports, and assists health professionals concerned with health promotion through education and other systematic strategies. AAHE provides information on:

Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) certification
National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) health education certification

Health Education and Promotion Network (HEP Network)
HEP Network offers Web-based instructional courses in health education and promotion. The courses are currently offered as graduate credit offered through various colleges and universities. At a future date, these courses will also be offered for professional development (CEU) credits leading in two formats:

Qualified professional development for teacher certification
Category I credit for CHES

CDC DASH Healthy Youth
Centers for Disease Control, Division of Adolescent and School Health Web site provides resources on a variety of Health topics.

HIV Prevention
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Web site. A gateway to Federal domestic HIV/AIDS information and resources.

Centers for Disease Control Web site that provides information regarding HIV/AIDS questions.

Provides resources for HIV and sexuality education.

I'm school administrator; what tools for schools are available on Health education?

Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT)
The HECAT can help school districts, schools, and others conduct a clear, complete, and consistent analysis of health education curricula based on the National Health Education Standards and CDC's Characteristics of Effective Health Education Curricula. The HECAT results can help schools select or develop appropriate and effective health education curricula and improve the delivery of health education. The HECAT can be customized to meet local community needs and conform to the curriculum requirements of the state or school district.

Health, Mental Health and Safety Guidelines for Schools - Health and Safety Education Chapter
This is a guide for administrators and policymakers from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the CDC, and other public health organizations. This chapter provides recommendations and guidelines for maintaining a high quality health education program.

Characteristics of Effective Health Education Curricula
Centers for Disease Control web site that contains information about the characteristics of effective Health Education Curricula.

National Health Education Standards
CDC web site that has the National Health Education Standards.

Acrobat Reader Symbol Acrobat Reader format. You can download a free reader from Adobe.

New Hampshire Department of Education
101 Pleasant Street | Concord, NH | 03301-3494
Telephone: (603) 271-3494 | TDD Access: Relay NH 711