Education Creating Healthier Lives
If you want a healthier society, education is a good place to start. Education is directly linked to a higher life expectancy. Numerous studies show that when children learn healthy habits at a young age, they are likely to continue those healthy habits to adulthood – especially with repeated exposure. According to the World Factbook published by the Central Intelligence Agency, Lebanon is ranked 68th in the world for life expectancy at 77.8 years for the average citizen. In 1997, the Ministry of Education began intentionally including health education in the curriculum of schools in Lebanon. It is likely health education is a large contributor to the steadily climbing life expectancy in the last fifteen years. In order to utilize the general knowledge children learn in their education, like skills in math, reading, and science, students need to be healthy. Educating youth on their health is essential.
Educators are the primary promoters of new healthy lifestyles and ideas in Lebanon and countries worldwide. In addition to a longer life expectancy, the benefits of comprehensive health education go beyond physical health and well-being. Receiving quality, continued education is linked to higher-paying jobs that increase access to care through employee benefits and increased opportunity for health resources. Stress levels decrease when a child is focused on education. Lower stress is attributed to lower rates of crime and smoking, making households and neighborhoods healthier.
Reducing Lebanon’s high smoking rate starts with stress reduction, but is maintained with smoking prevention and cessation programs that are cooperative; seeking the help of families, schools, non-governmental organizations, and the Ministry of Public Health. Box for Health created targeted, evidence-based smoking prevention activities for primary schools to use. For younger children, these smoking prevention activities focus on informing students how smoking negatively impacts their bodies. The activities for older children allow them to implement this knowledge by practicing their ability to say no to smoking.
When thinking about comprehensive health education, Box for Health believes that information on how to keep the mouth healthy is essential. It is important for children to know how the food they put into their bodies affects their oral health. Nutrition curriculum is at the top of the agenda for organizations like Box for Health when identifying the needs of health education in Lebanese schools. In addition to oral health, nutrition education will help to reduce chronic illness in Lebanon, which is currently the leading cause of death. As efforts increase to encourage healthy lifestyles in early education, the overall health of Lebanon’s population will improve.
These improvements take time. By starting with education in primary aged children, the impact of a health education program can grow with the generation. According to the Center on Society and Health, “Disinvestment in education leads to more illness and higher medical care costs.” Invest in health by investing in education and prevention. Access to health resources should be a right for all children.
We, at Box for Health, believe that a single action can make a difference and through that collaborative enterprise, together we can impact the world. If you are interested in volunteer please say hello! Email your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org