Effective health education goes far beyond just teaching the facts about good health; it’s about empowering students to access, navigate, collaborate and act upon the health information provided to enhance their well-being in the long run.
Health literacy is essential when educating students about health and is foundational to the students’ ability to learn how to implement healthy activities, set goals, and advocate for themselves throughout their lives.
A joint committee including SHAPE America (Society of Health and Physical Educators), the American Public Health Association, and the American School Health Association developed the National Health Education Standards (NHES).
Adopted by most states, the NHES provide a framework for teachers, administrators, and policy makers in designing or selecting curricula, allocating instructional resources, and assessing student achievement and progress. The standards provide students, families and communities with concrete expectations for health education.
Here are the 8 National Health Education Standards:
Standard 1: Students will comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention to enhance health.
Standard 2: Students will analyze the influence of family, peers, culture, media, technology, and other factors on health behaviors.
Standard 3: Students will demonstrate the ability to access valid information and products and services to enhance health.
Standard 4: Students will demonstrate the ability to use interpersonal communication skills to enhance health and avoid or reduce health risks.
Standard 5: Students will demonstrate the ability to use decision-making skills to enhance health.
Standard 6: Students will demonstrate the ability to use goal-setting skills to enhance health.
Standard 7: Students will demonstrate the ability to practice health-enhancing behaviors and avoid or reduce health risks.
Standard 8: Students will demonstrate the ability to advocate for personal, family, and community health.
In addition, health literacy was the foundation for SHAPE America’s, Appropriate Practices in School-Based Health Education, which is a guidance document for educators, administrators and curriculum specialists when they are designing and delivering health education.
We all benefit when health literacy skills are taught at an early age. Rather than waiting for patient interactions in your own facility, it may be time to think about partnering with others in your community such as your local school, or other community groups such as boy scouts, girl scouts, sports teams and recreational programs.
Innovative and effective health education can come from a collaboration between health care organizations, schools and the community. Your unique area of expertise can enhance health education programs in your community, build trust and foster long-lasting healthy lifestyles.
Plan now for outreach activities that promote health literacy within school-based health education programs. Enable your school and community partners to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to lead a healthy life.
Contact Health Literacy Partners to learn more about essential health literacy education and training that can be shared with your community partners, schools and beyond.