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The Effects of Health Education on Elementary School Students

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Chapter ONE

1.0 Introduction

Health education is considered to be one of the significant elements of a school curriculum. A lot of parents are only concerned about their children’s basic education in arithmetic, reading and writing. However, there is one dimension they seem to overlook. There is much that goes on in the room where their children learn (Healthchildren.org, 2013). An all-inclusive program of health education is considered a vital element in the curriculum. This is considered useful at all levels of learning: from elementary school all the way to high school. It offers a basic foundation to the human body and to such factors that prevent ailments causing damage to the human health.

Background of the Study

Childhood middle years are very sensitive times for various issues of health, particularly in the adoption of health behavior that can produce long lasting consequences (Meyers-Clark & Christopher, 2001). Children have frequently been exposed to various health patterns at school: disease prevention, nutrition, reproduction, physical development and growth, alcohol and drug abuse prevention, mental health, safety as well as consumer health among many others. Research has shown that health education, for example, in the abuse of alcohol, becomes very effective when it is done when children are young, barely two years old prior to the start of the behavior (Healthchildren.org, 2013; Meyers-Clark & Christopher, 2001). This implies that children within the range of 7-8 years are the best candidates for these lessons on alcohol, tobacco along with other drugs. Education in sexuality is also important for children for it prepares them for important life issues ahead of them. Positive behavior on health can also be gained in the early middle childhood years. The wellbeing of children can be impacted through lasting exercises and habits of nutrition that can be adapted as early as possible. Programs of health education are the most effectual with the involvement of parents. Parents are useful in reinforcing and complementing the things children learn in school. Not many people are equipped in dealing with the affairs of their children.

Statement of the Problem

Children at school need more than just increasing academic knowledge (Healthchildren.org, 2013). There is much more involvement that is required in schools other than just reading and writing, especially at the very low elementary level. The focus is taking a shift to include life skills other than just academic skills. Therefore, there is a need for Health Education in New York City public elementary schools.  

Study Hypothesis

The results of this study are anticipated to concur with at least one of the hypotheses postulated based on the thesis statement. The following hypotheses are based on the need of health education programs:

  1. The inclusion of health programs in the curriculum can transform lives elementary school children in New York City
  2. Health education is an important element in a child’s learning environment in boosting other areas of study.
  3. Health programs vary in different settings

The Scope and Limitations of the Study

This study seeks to collect data using standardized data survey instruments concerning health programs and their inclusion in the mainstream curriculum. The study will make use of selected elementary schools in New York City. In this analysis, the focus on health programs poses its own limitations, because to a large extent, the health theme is usually a subject to interpretation. The school administration is likely to cover up the weaknesses of existing school structures and organizations and exaggerate on the strengths. It may thus lead to a limited perspective on the subject.

Significance of the Study

The study is aimed at producing important information to enhance health awareness in elementary schools. It is very easy to ignore the significance of health education for children. However, it is important to realize the foundations laid for them for their next stage in life that has a lot of challenges. Children’s health can be easily impaired if inappropriate choices are made and even could cause death. Such choices go round about the use of alcohol, drug use and tobacco; sexual behavior in terms of pregnancy, abstinence and diseases that are sexually transmitted; risk-taking social behavior; driving and the management of stress among others. 

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