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Goal 3: Incorporate Accurate, Standards-Based, and Developmentally Appropriate Health and Science Information and Curricula in Child Care and Education Through the University Level

Why this goal is important:

Health literacy skills start early in life and are part of the process of caring for and educating children, adolescents and young adults. CDC recognizes the value of teaching in school those functional health information and skills necessary to adopt, practice and maintain healthy behaviors. The National Health Education Standards can build health knowledge and skills that are critical to achieve proficient health literacy. All children should graduate with health literacy skills that will help them live healthier lives throughout their lifespan. The strategies and resources below will help achieve this goal.

For more information, please review the complete text of Goal 3 [PDF - 666KB] in the National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy. See: Section 3, Goal 3.

Strategies by Stakeholders:

Strategies for Early Childhood Administrators, Managers, and Policymakers

  • Promote the availability of formal early childhood education for all eligible children
  • Embed accurate, accessible, and actionable health information in all early childhood programs, such as Head Start and WIC
  • Connect efforts to improve children’s health literacy skills with adult programs, such as adult education courses
  • Hire individuals with appropriate formal training in all child care programs
  • Require coursework in health education for all students who are in postsecondary schools and preparing for a career in early childhood education
  • Provide professional development for all child care teachers on the link between early childhood education literacy and health literacy
  • Increase the amount of health education instruction in early childhood education

Strategies for Educational Administrators, Managers, and Policymakers (K–12 and University)

  • Promote health literacy by including the National Health Education Standards in school curriculum reform initiatives
  • Ensure that all students can pass NAEP assessments
  • Ensure that all eligible students graduate from high school
  • Create and require certification standards for teachers in health education
  • Require annual coursework in health literacy and health education for all students in postsecondary schools
  • Require all preservice teachers to have coursework in the instructional methods of heath education
  • Build partnerships with local hospitals, clinics, health care providers, librarians, and adult education centers to connect the health literacy skill-building activities of children and adults
  • Provide professional development for all teachers on health education teaching strategies, topics, skills, and age-appropriate health education
  • Incorporate health education into existing science, math, literacy, social studies, and computer instruction in grades K–12 by embedding health-related tasks, skills, and examples into lesson plans

Available Resources for

Early Childhood:

K-12 and University:

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  • Page last reviewed: August 22, 2011
  • Page last updated: August 22, 2011 The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
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