What is the Value of Health Education?

Through the use of twitter, I came across a video of youth speaking out about diabetes via Shelley Barthel, an education professor at the U of R. Shelley taught my section the EHE and EPE 310 courses. Throughout both of the courses Shelley continuously challenged us, pushing us to dig deeper into our thoughts. Well, here she is again, pushing me to critically analyze my philosophies. In our class in EHE 310, we had many meaningful and interesting discussions regarding the value of health education in schools. How do schools value health? How much time do they spent on health in the classroom? How much should schools value health education? Should health be above math and ELA? All of these questions are ones that as future educators, we should be thinking about.

When I was watching this video and started to consider what this video meant to me, it reminded me  of a google survey that one of my peers, Lindsay Fuchs did. Her survey was on which subject is most important in the classroom. Interestingly enough, her survey found that 0% of us who did her survey, all future educators, put health at the top of the list. While watching this video it also reminded me of the Social Determinants of Health and their influence on daily life for all individuals. This is an interesting topic and I would love to hear your thoughts. How much should schools value health education in the classroom?

Raise Your Voice against Diabetes


5 thoughts on “What is the Value of Health Education?

  1. I am currently taking a course on Personal and Community Health, and my professor has made the statement a couple of times, that we are putting the majority of our resources in the wrong end of the system. We spend so much money treating the ailments instead of proactively spending the money on educating the community on their health. I think teachers need to evaluate how health can positively or negatively impact all areas of a student’s life, and try to plan so that it is incorporated throughout the day. Because health is not something that we can choose to care about for an hour a week. It affects us all day, every day.

  2. Thinking back to when I was in elementary school I believe we only had maybe an hour a week dedicated to health. Clearly it was not implied that this was an important part of schooling. Perhaps this has to do with the way the education system is in someway as the topics taught in health are not viewed as important as the material covered in other subjects. I think that we can incorporate teaching kids healthy habits and making good lifestyle choices in more than just the time designated to health. I think teaching students the importance of an active lifestyle and making healthy choices is so important and is something I plan on instilling in my students.

  3. I definitely agree with both of you in stating that there needs to be more value placed on health education in the classroom. What I struggle with, is the consideration of health being its own subject. Health as you have both made reference to, is intertwined and essentially, a large component to daily life. However, if we teach health in isolation in our classrooms, that will also be the way that the students understand health to be – in isolation. Yet, this is definitely not the case. The students need to see the connection that health has in all aspects of their life. In a way, I guess I do not think that there is not value of health education in the classroom, but that we are focusing the value in the wrong place.

  4. I really enjoy this post and I tend to over-think these kinds of things because health is so important to me. This is all very relevant stuff and though it may seem exacerbated by our health educators, I agree with you and others when questioning the value placed on health education. Kids these days are misinformed and I think need, more than ever, ‘health education’. I just want to put my two cents in here and kind of challenge what you are saying about health being in isolation, even though I agree with what you are saying. In my opinion, and I will state simply, you can teach any subject in isolation. Making what you are teaching relevant and connecting curriculum is something that will bring health education alive and it will then become more meaningful. I feel those health education pieces can be found in all subject areas and driven home in classrooms—but it’s up to the teacher to be the leader and role model (I find that we can’t always rely on curriculum).
    This discussion reminded me of Jamie Oliver’s revolt against the foods that Americans eat. He talks about the change that we need to see, especially in schools. It’s a lengthy video but it is worth a watch! Check it out: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/jamie_oliver.html

    Your posts have been very thought provoking and I could spend a day commenting on just your posts alone. Keep up the good work! 🙂

  5. Great video, I agree that it is very relevant. AND thank you for adding in your two cents. However, unfortunately (for the sake that our opposing views would have made for a meaningful discussion), I think I was not clear. I do not think that health should be taught in isolation. That is why I struggle with it being its own subject. Rather, I think that it should be woven into daily learning experiences that are relevant to these students lives.
    Continue with your comments! It is comments like your own that help me continue to blog!


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