Introduction to Health Education

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SLMtitle.png Introduction to Health Education

By B.D.M. Rajapkse

Chapter Outline

  1. Introduction
  2. Objectives
  3. Concept of Health
    1. Physical Fitness
    2. Mental Fitness
    3. Emotional Stability
    4. Social Fitness
    5. Moral Development
    6. Balance Personality
  4. Concept of health education
    1. Importance
  5. World health Organization
    1. Objectives
  6. Implementation of Health Education
  7. Let Us Sum Up
  8. Practice Test
  9. Answers
  10. References

SLMinto.png Introduction

The general public has very little consideration towards health. A knowledge about health is very important to improve and maintain the health of an individual and groups and to lead a healthy life. It’s our responsibility to educate students on health. This is possible by providing opportunities to gain knowledge, skills and attitudes on Health.

The school has to play a prominent role in directing future generation for a healthy living. The teacher is always bound to help the student’s development-physically and mentally. But, this alone will not suffice to develop the personality. Physical and mental development should be proportionately balanced, in a good personality. In this module I expect to explain how you could develop a physically and mentally balanced individual through Health Education.

Let me now explain to you the contents of this lesson. Before teaching Health and Physical Education, you should know the meaning of Health Education. I hope you will be able to gain sufficient knowledge about “What is Health and What is Health Education .

SLMobj.png Learning Objectives
After reading this chapter, you are expected to learn about:

  • Explain the meaning of the concept of health.
  • Develop health attitudes and habits among students.
  • Organize Health Education activities.
  • Build up a good healthy condition through the classroom and school environment.

Concept of Health

You may think that you are healthy, when you do not fall ill or when you are strong. Health means the total well-being of an individual. Total well-being or complete health is the efficiency provided by physical and mental well-being. Physical and mental well-being helps an individual to be emotionally steady, socially and morally sound, which will lead to a well balanced personality. Your behaviour reveals your personality. Thus you may now realize that health means physical and mental well-being.

Let us now consider the inter-relationship of physical, mental, emotional, social and moral development that influences the health of an individual.

Complete health is the physical and mental well-being of an individual.

Physical Fitness

Picture 01:- picture of a athlete Physical fitness is quality of health. This quality is found in a person who has strength., speed, stamina, suppleness, correct posture, correct movement and activity. Activeness leads to physical efficiency. Skeletal-neuro muscular mechanism, circulatory and respiratory systems should function in harmony, in order to maintain physical efficiency. Sources for this physical well-being are food, exercise, rest, sleep and intelligent care of the body. Physical fitness alone will not provide complete health.

Mental Fitness

Physical fitness can be measured by using different types of tests. But mental health cannot be tested. An individual's mental health is revealed by his behavior, speech and appearance. You are a psycho-physical unity. Body and mind cannot be separated form each other. It is one whole being. What you give the mind affects the body. What you give the body, affects the mind.

An individual who is physically fit should possess a healthy mind. Anti-social behavior is the outcome of an unhealthy mind." A healthy body has a healthy mind" Juvalnel.

The mental and physical condition affects the development of a child physically and mentally. Due to this, height and weight of a child have become the important factors to identify his growth rate. If a child's basic human needs such as food, clothing, shelter, love, exercise, rest, sleep are supplied, then his health physically and mentally will improve. He would display just, fair attitudes towards the society.

Emotional Stability

Picture 02:- Childern are dancing, laughing,playing Economics are feelings you get at various moments in your life., love, fear, anger, joy , fun are some of them. If you are not contented mentally and emotionally, you will be sick physically and mentally unfit.

The nervous system that controls our organic systems, gets affected due to emotions. This could be the beginning of many a disease. You too would have experienced the loss of appetite due to anger and fear. If this condition persists continuously, then ulcers may form in the stomach. The suppression of unfavorable emotions will cause pain to the body. There may be mental disorders too as a result. When an individual is shy or angry the cheeks become red. It is due to the blood flowing into the enlarged capillaries. If this continues, a liquid will ooze out form the dilated capillaries and get collected under the skin. Irritation occurs when scratched. The skin is ruptured and the liquid comes to the surface of the skin. This is called eczema.

You may have experienced that when you are subjected to emotional stress, your heart beats rapidly. The heart beats out 20 pints of blood per minute. When the heart beat is slow, it pumps out 8 pints of blood per minute. This condition is a disease. When both body and mind are under stress, it is detrimental to health.

Hence, you must be conscious and aware of the emotional stress of your children in your class.

"The best way to avoid disease is to lead a physically and mentally balanced life." - Hippcrates

Control of emotions is of prime importance for good health. Emotional stress can be over come if emotions are controlled. Emotional stress could be over-come through a healthy mind.

Intelligence is part and parcel of a healthy mind. Behav mannerisms intelligently guided and observed will lead to good habits later. Hence, healthy activities in child hood will lead to good health habits. Hereditary habits too can be eradicated with individual effort, when guided intelligently. Appearance, posture, peacefulness, contentment, and health are good results of desirable emotions.

Biting mails, entangling hair with fingers, are some bad habits. You could observed among children. Please find out about them. You will come to understand that these are signs of emotional stress. Let us now find out how physical and mental health and the control emotions are useful to society.

Social Fitness

There are two main responsibilities you should fulfill towards society. First, you should improve your own health. Secondly, you should understand the health problems of those around you. This will help you to get adjusted to the society you live in. If you can adjust your self to any society and culture, you are socially sound . If you are in perfect harmony physically and mentally you are free form frustration, an understanding and a useful person to the society. Society expects form you qualities of co-operation, helpfulness and good social behavour.

Moral Development

Home, school and the temple or church influence a lot to mould the morals of the child. This is very important for complete well-being.

Constant proper guidance instructions and advice form parents, teachers, religious leaders and adults will develop the co-operation and exemplary conduct are qualities of good health. These qualities will develop in you according to your physical and mental well-being'.

Show others the behavour you would expect others to have towards you. Try to make your students accept this maxim.

Balance Personality

Personality reveals your physical, mental and social well-being. To be of a balanced personality, you should possess good health habits and try to live a healthy life.

Correct posture is a quality of a good personality. Correct posture is a sign of well-being in the child. Physical well-being could be obtained with nutritious food, exercise, rest and recreation. Correct speech is another quality of good personality. This reveals the physical and mental conditions which is influenced by the attitudes, home environment , intellectual development by the attitudes, home environment , intellectual development and the educational background. Your appearance and poise reveals your physical and mental stability, resulting in your correct choices and decisions. If you are not adjusted and suitable to the culture, society, age, you are an upset, dissatisfied and distressed person. Your behavior reveals your personality.

You would now realize that good behaviour is the physical, mental emotional, social and moral well being in action or in other words, the total personality in action.

Now let us answer the self assesment given below and check yourself on what you have learnt.

SLMsaq.gif Self-Assessment Questions (SAQs) - 1
Underline the most suitable answer

1.Complete health is

(1) free from disease
(2) able to run fast
(3) able to win in combat
(4) physically and mentaly balanced

2. Physical fitness is

(1) being strong
(2) being able to endure
(3) being able to live efficiently
(4) to be free from disease

3. Mental health of an individual is determined by his

(1) physical development
(2) behaviour
(3) educational qualifications
(4) rapite rate of growth

4. You are susceptible to emotions because

(1) a deficiency in the brain
(2) unaccepted hereditary traits
(3) neglected health habits
(4) an inbalanced physical and mental condition

5. An individual's vicious character is due to

(1) the lack of physical development
(2) the lack of mental development
(3) the lack of social development
(4) the lack of a balanced personality

Check your answers which are given in the end of the lesson.

Now shall we procced to health education.

Concept of health education

"Health Education is terms of community and social objectives is the translation of what is know about health into desirable individual and community behavior patterns, by means of the educational process" Ruth E. Grant

"School Health Education is the process of providing learning experiences for the purpose of influencing knowledge, attitudes and conduct relating to individual and community health" Thomas D Wood.

Thomas D Wood - the first Director of Physical Education of Stanford University. He has worked at the Teacher Training College attached to the Colombo University.


Education is very important for the development of a country. A healthy nation is very important to a country which values human labour. In such a country when health deteriorates, human labour decreases and development is barred. A developing country, like Sri lanka, needs healthy human resources. For the country to be self sufficient, the live wire of the nation - children, should be healthy. Hence, Health Education is of prime importance.

The world Health Organization, which aims at widening Health Education is the world, has said that health is precious to man. The main aim of this organization is to be aware of and solve the varied health problems in the human society. This Endeavour has promoted the progress of Health Service too. Now shall we discuss the Health Organisations and their objectives.

World Health Organization

The personnel of Health Organisations and Health Services Endeavour too fulfill the Universal theme of the W.H.O "Health for all in the year 2010"; Health Education is essential to achieve this goal. It is accepted that Health Education should be compulsory in the school, because of the wrong concept that "health is only to be free form disease" and because of the lack of health habits.

As practice and training brings maximum results, the most suitable place to teach Health Education is the school. Just as much as an athlete becomes skill ful by letting the human body get accustomed to a series of movements the practice of health habits will provide a healthy body and a healthy mind.


The main objectives of Health Education in its broad outlook, is to make an individual suitable to shoulder the responsibilities of the society. He must recognize his responsibility of maintaining his health, as well as the health of others. This will guide him to adjust his environment and resources for the uplifment of himself and the society.

Health Education reveals the relationship between the health habits and the functions of the human body. A study of communicable diseases and immunization provides a knowledge about diseases, how they affect the health and how to inter relationship of the body and mind. Sanitation shows the value of Health Services. This leads an individual to identify and solve community problems.

Health Education is generally organised under the following themes. They are

  • Primary Health Care
  • Mental Health
  • Sanitation
  • Diseases and Immunigation
  • Accidents and First Aid
  • Relationship between the Doctor and the Patient
  • Education of false beliefs
  • Environmental Pollution
Implementation of Health Education

Health Education enables us to understand the purpose and value of life. This knowledge will help to develop attitudes to obtain maximum health. You will come to realize that certain social and cultural factors and false beliefs are detrimental to health.

Practical experience builds up correct attitudes. It helps a change in the behavior pattern. Cleanliness, nutrition, sports exercise and posture sanitary environment, prevention of accidents, first aid, control of communicable diseases are some aspects that provide opportunities for practical experience. Create opportunities through specified activities to gain experience in the above areas. A person who possesses a through knowledge of health will realize the value of restoring and maintaining his own health and that of the family and the society. Now shall we discuss the things what we can do the classroom.

In the classroom: Picture 3:- Children are cleaning the classroom

School Health Education provides solutions to health problems. Develop health habits through what the child has learnt about health at home. A knowledge about the importance of health activities and the transference of that knowledge to health habits are very important. For example children should know about communicable diseases, how they spreadand the preventive measures to be taken. Please remember that in drawing up lesson plans to teach health, you should consider the needs and the nature of the country and community.

For example the concept of "Janasaviya and Sisusaviya"

It is the compulsory responsibility of Health Education to form correct attitudes and behaviour patterns of an individual. Therefore, do not confine yourself to subject knowledge, but inculcate skills through experiences and attitudes and your efforts should be directed towards this result. You should pay special attention to the physical mental, emotional social and moral factors. Your main task is to provide a knowledge in Health Education that would lead to behavioral change.

Now let us do the self assesment

SLMsaq.gif Self-Assessment Questions (SAQs) - 2
State True or False within the brackets given below

1. Ruth E Grant is the author of the following statement.
Health education in terms of community and social objectives is " the translation of what is known about health into desirable individual and community behavoiur patterns by means of the education process". ( )
2. Health education expects to provide knowledge, attitudes and habits. ( )
3. The basic aim of health rducation is to provide knowledge about the health services. ( )
4. When implementing the aims of the health education, it should be in keeping with the needs of the country, districts and the community. ( )
5. If yhe teaching of health is to be more effective the physical capabilites of children should be considered. ( )

Check your answers which are given in the end of the lesson.

Let us now summaries what we have have learnt in this lesson.

SLMsum.png Results

Now let us do the following activity.

SLMact.gif Activity
Prepare a activity plan to develop the child health habits after having a discussion with the Public health inspector.

SLMkp.png Key Points

The key points of this chapter are as follows:

  • W.H.O:- World Health Organization
  • Posture
  • Balance diet

SLMgloss1.png Glossary

  • Correct posture:- correct movement and activites
  • Personality:- qualities of a person
  • Stress:- pressure of tension

SLMtest1.png Practice Test

  • Answer the following questions.
  1. Write down three steps that you can follow to maintain your health?
  2. Name three things to overcome the stress?

SLMfeedb.png Answers to SAQs

Self assesment 1

self assesment 2


SLMref.png References and Further Readings

W. Jakson (the role of the health education teacher) W.B. Broocoacher (Sociology of Education) J.F Willims (Principals of Physical Education)