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What are National Health Education Standards?

The National Health Education Standards (NHES) were developed to establish, promote, and support health-enhancing behaviors for students in grades K- 12. NHES provides a framework for educators, administrators, and policy makers in developing and/or selecting curriculum, determining instructional resources for their students. NHES also allows for educators and administrators to assess student achievement and progress. In addition, the educational standards provide students, educators and families with specific expectations for health education topics.

What are National Health Education Standards?

The National Health Education Standards, or NHES, was first published in 1995 in response to several model standards being developed for other areas of education by leaders in education throughout the US in the early 1990s. The American Cancer Society and the Joint Committee on National Health Education Standards was formed to develop the health education standards. Committee members included: • American Public Health Association • American School Health Association • SHAPE America (Society of Health and Physical Educators) In 2004, a review process began resulted in revisions to the NHES and then the 2nd edition National Health Education Standards—Achieving Excellence was developed to reinforce the positive growth of health education for students in grades K-12. The edited NHES standards challenged schools and communities to continue their efforts toward integrating effective health education for students in grades K-12.

Why are National Health Education Standards important?

In the US, chronic diseases are the leading causes of morbidity and mortality. Engaging in healthy behaviors, such as regular physical activity, eating healthy, and avoiding tobacco use, have been linked to prevention of chronic disease. Research studies suggest evidence that promoting and establishing healthy behaviors for younger people are more effective, and often easier, than trying to change unhealthy behaviors already established by adults. Therefore, students in grades K-12 can learn about healthier choices for their lifestyle and reducing risky behaviors through standards-based health education lessons.

Here are the 8 standards of National Health Education Standards:

The NHES are expectations for what students should know and be able to complete by grades 2, 5, 8, and 12. The 8 NHEC standards promote personal, family, and community health:

Standard 1

Definition: Students will comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention to enhance health.

Helpful resources: LearntobeHealthy offers a comprehensive Health Curriculum for grades K-12.

Standard 2

Definition: Students will analyze the influence of family, peers, culture, media, technology, and other factors on health behaviors.

Helpful resources: Check out LearntobeHealthy’s Mental Health Curriculum for grades 10-12. We offer complete mental health lesson plans for grades K-12.

Standard 3

Definition: Students will demonstrate the ability to access valid information, products, and service to enhance health.

Helpful resources: Here’s a sample of our Nutrition and Fitness curriculum for grades 7-9. Check it out!

Standard 4

Definition: Students will demonstrate the ability to use interpersonal communication skills to enhance health and avoid or reduce health risks.

Helpful resources: Check out our lesson plans around Mental Health for grades 7-9.

Standard 5

Definition: Students will demonstrate the ability to use decision-making skills to enhance health.

Helpful resources: Our curriculum around Tobacco and Inhalants for grades 4-6 offer valuable insight around decision-making skills.

Standard 6

Definition: Students will demonstrate the ability to use goal-setting skills to enhance health.

Helpful resources: Our new Interactive Health Log allows students to track their daily activity in order to improve their goal-setting skills.

Standard 7

Definition: Students will demonstrate the ability to practice health-enhancing behaviors and avoid or reduce health risks.

Helpful resources: Our unit on Substance Abuse for grades 7-9 offers a complete lesson plan around the dangers of drug and alcohol use and abuse.

Standard 8

Definition: Students will demonstrate the ability to advocate for personal, family, and community health.

Helpful resources: Check out our Sample Lesson plans for a sneak peek of our complete health education curriculum.

Next steps:

Now that you’ve read-up more on the National Health Education Standards, it’s time to find the best resources for your students. LearntobeHealthy is here to help with a complete K-12 health education lesson plans on Mental Health, Nutrition and Fitness, Adolescence and more!

To learn more about physical wellness health lessons for grades K-12 and your state’s educational standards, visit https://www.learntobehealthy.org/lessons-and-activities/. To journal daily nutrition, physical activity and overall mood for students, visit our Individualized Health Log, https://www.learntobehealthy.org/lessons-and-activities/health-log/ .

To learn more visit www.LearntobeHealthy.org or call 717-848-3064.