The familiar reminders of our parents echo in our mind as we recall our childhood and teenaged years. As a child, our mothers take control over our choices of meals, eating habits, behaviors and choice of friends. The common phrases, “Eat all your vegetables!”, “Keep away from drugs!”, “Behave properly and be good!” are what we often hear but prefer to ignore until we become parents to our own children.
Back in those years, what matters most to us is that we are served tasty meals, have enjoyable night hours with our friends and a space from our nagging parents. We never realized the value of a healthy lifestyle unless we have reached a point where our bodies are affected and our lives are threatened. This paper will reflect on the importance of integrating health related topics in the school curriculum.
Nutrition, Drugs and HIV
Young students are not too concern about the choices of meals in the school cafeteria, food carts or vending machines. They prefer foods that are affordable, easily available and good to their taste buds. The numbers, e.g. calories, weight and blood pressure that health conscious people fear, are taken for granted.
Since children and young adults are active, they believe that they can easily burn their calories and lose weight. When they cannot control their weight and eating habits, frustrations and insecurities set in that may lead them to try anything that can assure them of losing weight.
Hence, they will take diet pills without doctor’s advice, skip meals, or resort to gastric surgery. The school may serve as the best avenue to teach children about the benefit of daily exercise, eating nutritious and healthy foods, and taking breakfast regularly while integrating this information in their Science, Physical Education (P.E.), and Reading subjects.
Exposing the young learners on the adverse effects of unhealthy food and lifestyle through scientific findings, educational videos and self discovery will awaken their minds and help them form a healthy lifestyle and a better future.
Dangerous drugs are often considered as man’s worst enemies. Children and young adults do not enjoy being alone. They will resort to anything to gain acceptance even if it means being hooked on drugs. Trying a stick of marijuana or a shot of methamphetamine or heroine are done to satisfy their curiosity or to please their friends.
However many users may not realize that putting an end to the intake of drugs is a habit that is not easy to kick off. While being under the influence of drugs, crimes may be committed, lives may be in danger and the prospect of having a brighter future may be shattered.
The school may play a big role in the fight against drugs. Drug pushing and addiction may be prevented through information dissemination and by integrating the topics related to drugs in Science and P.E.
In science, the teacher can show the students how drugs can damage their brains and vital organs. In P.E., students may gain knowledge about the effects of steroids and the random drug testing done during major sports competitions, e.g. Olympics.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) causes AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). HIV positive school aged adolescents are usually infected through sharing of infected needles, or by engaging in unprotected sexual activities with infected partners.
The integration of health education in Science can reduce and prevent risky health behaviors among these young adolescents. Students must be educated about the transmission of HIV and how to reduce their risk. While abstinence is the best way to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV, many students do not practice this method. Hence, it is important to teach them how to acquire skills to become healthy adults.
Reducing or preventing the onset of any health related problem is best achieved when a person is still at their young age. For some, the discovery of a health problem due to improper diet, drug addiction and HIV may come at the nick of time but for others, it may be too late.
Kicking the unhealthy habit is not easy. One cannot race against time and change their lifestyle abruptly. Children and young adults are the future of the nation. They must be well informed and given the skills to grow as healthy individuals.