School is important for teaching students the basic disciplines that we all learn—science, mathematics, social sciences, etc. But promoting basic health guidelines is also an important aspect of school learning. The roles that school nurses and other health professionals play for our young people are indispensable. Here’s why promoting student health in school is so important:
It increases health immediately.
School health education programs have been shown to reduce risky behaviors like poor nutrition, lack of exercise, drug and alcohol use, tobacco use, violence, and much more. To put it simply, health education in schools promotes positive and healthy behavior among young people. And that’s a good thing for the population as a whole. When students learn these things early on in life, they’re more likely to grow up practicing better health habits.
It promotes health awareness in the long-term.
Health education in school doesn’t just promote good health practices. It promotes health literacy, or the ability of individuals to obtain, interpret, and understand basic health information and services. Health professionals in schools are creating a foundation for young people to move forward in life, understanding their own health needs. In some cases, students may not get that education anywhere else.
We need to reverse the trends.
Another reason that student health in schools is so important is that the numbers don’t look good when it comes to the health of our young people. Recent statistics show some startling figures: about one out of five high school students smoke; around 80% of students do not get the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables in a day; around 15 million school days are missed due to uncontrolled asthma every school year. Putting quality health education programs to good use in schools is one of the main ways to promote good health and reverse these trends.
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