Goals of Coordinated School Health
Coordinated school health programs could be a critical means to improving both education performance and the well-being of our young people and the adults they will become. School health programs typically have four overlapping, interdependent goals. These goals are most effectively and efficiently achieved when all the goals are addressed simultaneously through a coordinated approach that purposefully integrates the efforts and resources of education, health, and social service agencies.
The following is a summary of the key goals and strategies proposed by Lloyd Kolbe in "Education Reform and the Goals of Modern School Health Programs."1
- Increase health knowledge, attitudes, and skills.
- School health instruction helps young people improve their health knowledge. For example, students learn nutrition facts and how to read product labels so they can make healthy eating choices.
- School health instruction helps young people develop related life skills, including communication and interpersonal skills, decision making and critical thinking skills, and coping and self-management skills. For example, students learn a variety of ways to refuse alcohol or tobacco and practice those skills.
- Improved communication and life skills can positively affect students’
health decisions and behaviors and promote effective citizenship.
- Increase positive health behaviors and health outcomes.
- School health programs can be designed to help youth avoid specific risk behaviors, including those that contribute to the leading causes of injury, illness, social problems, and death in the United States; alcohol and other drug use; tobacco use; injury and violence; unhealthy eating; physical inactivity; and sexual risk behaviors. These behaviors, often established during childhood and early adolescence, are interrelated and can persist into adulthood.
- Specific school health interventions have proven effective in significantly reducing these risk behaviors, improving health promoting behaviors, and improving health outcomes.
- School health programs can also create safer schools and positive
social environments that contribute to improved health and learning.
- Improve education outcomes.
- Students who are healthy are more likely to learn than those who are unhealthy. School health programs can appraise, protect, and improve the health of students, thus reducing tardiness and absenteeism and increasing academic achievement.
- Students who acquire more years of education ultimately become
healthier adults and practice fewer of the health risk behaviors most
likely to lead to premature illness and death.
- Improve social outcomes.
- School health programs can provide opportunities to build positive social interactions and foster the development of students’ respect, tolerance, and self-discipline. For example, conflict resolution and peer mediation programs help students learn how to listen and solve problems.
- School health programs can reduce delinquency, drug use, and teen pregnancy, increasing the likelihood that young people will become productive, well-adjusted members of their communities.
- School health programs can provide access to community programs and services that can help students contribute positively to their family, school, and community.
- Kolbe L. Education reform and the goals of modern school health programs. The State Education Standard 2002;3(4):4-11.