According to research, students’ academic performance foretells the importance of students health. Physically and mentally sound students do better in schools and studies, as per the research conducted by the health unit of health and social services, Haldimand and Norfolk.
In general, living a healthy lifestyle may prevent many chronic diseases and illnesses. Schools with the integration of health education can build student’s skills and knowledge on health. Studies have shown that the reading and math scores of students who got extensive health education were altogether higher than the individuals who didn’t. When all is said in done, healthy students learn better.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics Report, about 57.5% of students experience more stress than average due to academics, finances, and sleep disorders. Again about 45.1% of students in the University of Minnesota were diagnosed with different mental health conditions. This indicates students health importance and health education.
Role of health education on students
The primary role of health education is to keep informed regarding public health, physical health, emotional health, and health services. Health education facilitates the learning process and the individual or community can make informed decisions about health or health issues.
According to Mikołajewska (2014), knowledge and skills are essential for students, but the attitude for students and teaching skills are also viewed as important. Public health departments or health professionals can increase health awareness among people, high school students, or local schools. An increase in health awareness can lead to an increase in critical thinking, improved health behaviors, and maintain optimal health.
Components of health education
According to the report published by WSCC-state and regulations for healthy schools for the school year 2017-2018, the criteria set for the health education programs include nutrition and healthy eating, mental and emotional health, personal health, violence prevention, bullying prevention in schools, suicide prevention, social learning, and working environment. As per this policy, health education is encouraged or set as compulsory for all grades.
Warren County Schools located in Tennessee developed their components for health education based on the CDC model. They believe that health education related to physical education, nutrition services, school health services, school counseling, psychological services, social services, safe and healthy school environments, community involvement in the schools, and health promotion can help their students health, increase academic performance, community health and overall working environment of the schools.
Benefits of health education programs in schools
Education related to health has many health benefits as well as emotional and physical health. The most prominent ones are listed below:
- Better students health
- Increased academic performance
- Improved learning environment
- Less stress
Good health upholds a good learning environment, living, and wellbeing. Students develop and learn in a protected, safe, mindful, responsive, and engaging environment. Health education promoting schools see wellbeing comprehensively, addressing physical, social, mental, scholarly, and spiritual elements of students health programs.
Ways to promote students health
Students health will determine the performance level in academic. According to American College Health Association, the promotion of health education and services can alleviate student’s health. The strategies for the promotion of students health may involve building healthy policy, develop personal skills, create conducive environments, and reorient health services but factors like individual behaviors, support from families, study environments, culture, and legislation can be influential.
According to the American Cancer Society and American Diabetes Association, health education programs integrated with the school curriculum improves the health and well-being of students.
Research published in Health Education Research Journal suggests that education professionals should provide attention to the quality of student’s overall experience and the relationship between teachers and students.
How can students stay healthy?
National Society of High School Scholars outlines 7 easy steps to stay healthy in a college. They believe that these steps can lead to a lifelong commitment. Refer to the below steps;
- Regular cleaning of living space
- 8 hours of quality sleep
- Be physically active
- Eat whole food meals
- Engage in social activity
- Stay hydrated, learn about water-rich foods
- Know yourself
Dr. Sullieman in the Journal of Family and Community Medicine stressed that academic achievements and students health is well acknowledged by the Education policy drafted by the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He stated that children are the citizens of tomorrow’s nation.
Their basic health needs should be considered and included in the government policy. He also mentioned that extensive research is essential to determine the influential factors of maintaining good health and implement school health programs at local and national levels.
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Educators should work towards well-coordinated school education programs integrating both health education and academics in a holistic way to improve student’s health and academic performance. They should focus on behaviors that affect students health and learning outcomes, create a foundation of support for every youth, and stress on student’s involvement in every activity.