Health education in school
School is an ideal environment for the acquisition and development of knowledge, opinions, beliefs, attitudes and habits, all elements that will contribute, afterwards, to shaping mature individuals, able to play a role in society and contribute to its development.
Collaboration between the health and education environments is a crucial element to learn wholesome behaviours and to understand what interests are beyond commercial pressure and contradictory media messages, encouraging the consumption of cigarettes, alcoholic and sweet drinks, hypercaloric foods, or supporting excessively thin beauty models. Scientific data show that a small number of behaviours largely contributes to determine most death causes in our society, such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer and accidents. Such behaviours, often acquired in young age, include the use of tobacco, alcohol, psychotropic substances, unhealthy diets, insufficient physical activity and risky sexual behaviours.
The proposed module concerns teaching objectives and shared competences of all health education programs. It constitutes the first part of a compound learning path aiming to analyse health-related contents and improve teaching methodologies. Prevention instruction in school has so far been episodic, non-participatory, only transmitting information and difficult to evaluate. The next modules of the proposed learning path aim to promote health-related contents and active learning approaches, so as to highlight evidence and overcome the fragmentation and heterogenity of traditional health instruction, hence overcoming the above mentioned drawbacks.
Food, physical activity, smoke, alcohol, psychotropic substances, other dependencies, sexual behaviours, road and domestic accidents, as well as sustainable mobility, will be the contents of the next modules. Each of them will include, in relation to one of the mentioned topics: problem definition; identification of risk and protection factors; national and international articles and guidelines; references to projects carried out in diverse geographical contexts; learning objectives for different school levels; suggestions of educational tools and methods to teach health-related topics.