Apart from homes, young adults spend most of the time in school. School and colleges are the second major source of information and life skills. Undoubtedly, the school plays an important role in developing healthy and productive behavior in young adults.
For many young adults, a school is a place where it is possible to grasp aspects of healthy living consistently through proper education. Well-designed health intervention programs will help the children take preventive health decisions.
Notably, the educational or academic success of children is closely intertwined to health education. A healthy routine helps the child’s mind and body to grow appropriately, which encourages optimal learning routine. With the lack of a healthy routine and right healthy habit, risky behaviors such as low grades, performance, and attendance can come up.
Some children may even start substance abuse to cope with the peer pressure experienced at school. In this article, we will understand the importance and the role of educational institutions in delivering proper health education.
What Is Health Education?
Health education is a process that teaches students the importance of healthy living. Health education includes eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly, taking care of mental health, and many more. Health education program allows the students to think objectively in favor of their overall body and health.
Imparting a clear understanding of healthy behaviors and the impact of healthy choices on the quality of life changes the perspective of students towards various things such as drug and alcohol abuse.
Importance of Health Education in Schools
The health education program in schools delivers knowledge of compelling healthy habits. These healthy habits include decisions such as avoiding the use of drugs, eliminating fast food consumption, or reducing unprotected sexual behaviors.
Take the issue of obesity, for example. Obesity is one of the major crises faced by young adults as it decreases the sense of self-worth. Although obesity can occur in some individuals due to genetic or natural causes, most of the cases of obesity can be avoided with proper health education.
Obesity is also the main reason that triggers cardiac issues, growth of cancerous tumors, and/or arthritis. Encouraging students to cut down on tobacco use, increase physical activity, and manage stress can enhance the quality of their life.
Assessing the Quality of Health Education Program
The quality of health education program developed for educational institutions can be assessed through the following factors:
• Identifying the impact of culture, peers, media, family, and technology on the students to formulate a strategy addressing all the underlying issues.
• Empowering young adults with skills such as communication skills, goal-setting, and decision-making to strengthen the base of health education.
• Obtaining basic information regarding the health and habits of the students falling under one age group or social strata to form an efficient health education strategy.
• Targeting specific issues such as drug abuse, alcoholism, and more that can have a wide-level negative impact on the health of the individuals as well as on the peers.
• Developing a program to interactively include students in the sessions and clarify problems that arise.
Characteristics of Quality Health Education Programs
1. Priority Behaviors
The leading risky behaviors in young adults are alcohol, tobacco consumption, unhealthy eating, lack of physical activity, unsafe sexual intercourse, and low personal hygiene. Needless to say, all these factors adversely affect the body, causing various health complications such as sexually transmitted disease, cardiovascular problems, unintended pregnancy, infections, or fatal diseases like cancer.
Assessing these behaviors and their effect on adolescents help in developing a suitable health program.
2. Foundational Support
The behavioral habits of students – whether it is healthy or bad – depends on the support the young adults receive from peers, friends, and family. To relieve the stress-inducing factors, a supportive relationship must be developed with the students.
3. Educational Components
An efficient health education program must include the following points.
• Planned and sequential program development according to the needs and requirements of the students.
• Health services offered by school authorities such as extensive counseling for extreme cases or basic health care services.
• Developing a safe and healthy environment inside the school to stimulate healthy behaviors.
• Appropriately planning physical education program keeping in mind the special needs of some students.
• Nutritional programs explaining the nutritional value of food items consumed on a daily basis.
• Counseling support for specific cases such as a session for mental health.
• Involving parents in health education programs to continue the influence of the program at home.
• Training teachers and educational stakeholders to participate in health intervention in a positive manner.
Owing to the complex nature of influences on young adults, it is imperative to plan continuous interventions. A single session or intervention may not have a long-term positive impact. To ensure long-term adherence to healthy habits, interventions should be strategically planned for various age groups to increase the positive effect.
5. Involvement and Development
Involvement and development are two related concepts. While development procedures should be carried out for teachers and educational stakeholders, involvement should be expected from peers. The development procedures are necessary to ensure the right response mechanism from teachers under critical circumstances.
The involvement of peers and family members is necessary to increase encouragement towards healthy behaviors.
The motive behind health education is to introduce an early intervention to avoid grave future circumstances. Students and young adults who are introduced to healthy behaviors and consequences of harmful habits since a young age are known to inhibit these activities in the long-term.
However, the school authorities, teachers, parents, and other educational stakeholders should achieve functional health knowledge to utilize it in the intervention. Building a self-efficient and competent intervention structure will help children develop healthy behaviors.