How healthy we are as adults is closely related to how healthy we were in childhood,1 which is why an increasing number of global health education programs focus on childhood education and intervention. By helping our children live healthier lives, we may be able to decrease the number of resources we dedicate to sick adults.
In the U.S., one of the primary models for improving childhood health is called Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC). Promoted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the WSCC model seeks to bring together schools, communities, health educators, and government leaders to help young people establish lifelong healthy behavior patterns.2
How does WSCC work? The model includes 10 core areas for communities to focus on and provides suggestions for how to promote health behaviors in a way that makes children feel healthy, safe, challenged, supported, and engaged. The 10 core areas in the WSCC model are:
Health education is formal, structured education provided by trained teachers and/or health educators. Good health education is a vital part of ensuring children have the comprehensive health knowledge they need to make informed health choices.
Nutrition Environment and Services
Schools that provide healthful food choices in the cafeteria and in other areas such as vending machines ensure students have access to the nutrition they need to grow and learn.
By helping employees remain physically and mentally healthy, schools are working to ensure their staff is ready and able to meet student needs. In addition, a healthy staff creates positive role models for students.
Social and Emotional School Climate
Schools with a positive social and emotional climate are conducive to effective teaching and learning. As such, schools should be aware of and work to improve psycho-social aspects of the educational experience.
Everything from air quality to the equipment on the playground is part of a school’s physical environment. The best schools ensure this physical environment is safe and conducive to educational achievement.
Schools should work not only to provide quality health assessment and aid but also to collaborate with community health providers to help students and their families receive the healthcare they need.
Counseling, Psychological, and Social Services
Like a school’s health services, a school’s counseling services should provide quality assessment and aid while also helping students and their families connect with additional services offered within the wider community.
Schools should actively seek out partnerships with community groups, nonprofits, local businesses, and other organizations that can help provide resources and/or volunteer time to help students live healthier lives.
Schools cannot succeed without family involvement, which is why they should work to get parents committed to supporting student learning and healthy behaviors.
Physical Education and Physical Activity
A strong physical education and activity program can help students stay active throughout the day, gain motor skills, and learn how to maintain physically active lives.
How Can You Help Improve the Nation’s Health?
Models like WSCC are the work of experts holding some of the most important public health jobs in research and education. How can you join them? The first step is to become an expert, and that can begin when you earn a health education and promotion degree.
In particular, a PhD in Health Education and Promotion can help you gain the knowledge, skills, and credentials you’ll need to plan, implement, and evaluate prevention programs and services like WSCC. And earning a PhD in Health Education and Promotion is an attainable goal for working professionals. Thanks to online learning, you can earn your PhD degree right from home. Plus, many online health education degree programs allow you to choose when in the day you attend class. This means that when you earn a PhD in health education online, you can continue working full time.
From developing national health initiatives to improving world health to teaching individuals how to make better health decisions, there are a lot of careers in health education and promotion. And with online education, you can earn the degree you need to qualify for the career that best suits your interests.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering a PhD in Health Education and Promotion degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.