Recreation Management - Ideas and Solutions for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

November 2017


New Series Aims to Empower Students With Healthy Habits

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By Deborah L. Vence

The Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) recently introduced its first-ever Health Education Youth Empowerment Series to help students develop the skills they need to make decisions, and implement change in their lives and the lives of others.

"Advocating for Healthy Nutrition Habits" is the first unit of the series and comprises five lessons for middle school students. The first unit includes lessons on: introduction of advocacy and nutrition; understanding food needs and differences among individuals; choosing healthy beverages; food availability and how this influences food choices; and sharing the message of healthy eating.

Educators can download a free copy of SHAPE America's Health Education Youth Empowerment Series to use in their classrooms. Each 50-minute lesson agenda includes instant activities to start the lesson, learning activities to help students gain functional knowledge and become proficient in the National Health Education Standards (NHES) skill focused on in the unit and closure activities to conclude the lesson. Ideas for lesson assessment, differentiation, homework and incorporating technology also are included.

SHAPE America President Fran Cleland of West Chester University, stated, "Our new Youth Empowerment Series is intended to generate educational opportunities for middle school students to practice healthy behaviors and positively influence those around them about good health. We want to help young people to develop the necessary skills, gain the ability and authority to make appropriate decisions."

In addition to enhancing student health and learning, school health education classes are key to improving other outcomes, including: increased school attendance, increased attention in class, reduction of discipline issues and enhanced school climate. Broader outcomes apply as well as students apply health skills throughout their lifespan, leading to increased productivity at work, fewer sick days, lower health care costs, enhanced national security and more productive citizens.

The Health Education Youth Empowerment Series was written by the following members of the Advocacy &Nutrition Task Force: Holly Alperin, chair, University of New Hampshire; Jessica Harcarik, Southampton, Md., Middle School; Erin Lumpkins, District of Columbia Public Schools and Joe Halowich of SHAPE America.

SHAPE America, a membership organization of health and physical education professionals, works with 50 state affiliates and national partners to support initiatives such as the Presidential Youth Fitness Program, Let's Move! Active Schools and the Jump Rope For Heart/Hoops For Heart programs.

For more information, go to www.shapeamerica.org.


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