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Health education with an ounce of prevention

By Staff | Apr 23, 2014

Dear friends of education,

Recently, Gov. Scott proposed a budget investment of $50 million from the 2013-14 Florida Families First budget for cancer research activities across the state.

Where is the investment for prevention? What would be the return on that investment?

Interestingly, the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association, and the American Heart Association believe that quality health education programs delivered in our schools can improve the well-being and health of our children and youth.

In the United States, chronic diseases are the leading causes of morbidity and mortality; however, engaging in healthy behaviors, such as participating in physical activity, eating healthy, and avoiding tobacco use, have been linked to prevention of chronic disease.

Research studies provide evidence that promoting and establishing healthy behaviors for younger people are more effective, and often easier, than efforts to change unhealthy behaviors already established in adult populations.

School health education programs can reduce health risk behaviors such as tobacco use, poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, drug and alcohol use, as well as actions that increase stress, and risk of injury, and violence. Because these behaviors are amenable to change, quality school health education taught by trained and certified health educators provides the best opportunity to promote positive health behavior among children and adolescents.

New evaluation of health education research shows promise of having a positive impact on academic achievement as it has on health outcomes.

Prevention through education is the key to a healthy future!

In conclusion, the potential for school health education to improve health and save lives is significant.

If we want to keep children and adolescents healthy, it is important to find better ways to provide quality school health education.

Please join our Lee County School Health Advisory Committee in advocating for Lee County students to have access to a quality, equitable health education through policy so they will become healthy community leaders in the future.

Mary Fischer represents District 1 on the Lee County School Board.

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