U.S. Policies for School Health Education: Opportunities for Advocacy at the Local, State, and National Levels

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Health Promotion Practice

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Children in K–12 settings comprise roughly one fifth of the population of the United States and are a cohort that has long drawn the interest of health educators. Early education and prevention efforts reduce human suffering, contribute to preparation for classroom learning, affect long-term health, and contain health costs due to preventable diseases. Despite the possible positive impact of a comprehensive approach, no broad-based federal legislation mandates regular school health education. Instead, the current state of school health education policy is a cobbled-together set of policies subsumed under existing laws. The purpose of this article is to provide information about the key legislation that is being used to promote school health education in the United States. Furthermore, the authors suggest opportunities for lobbying for the continuance of existing legislation and advocating for state and local operationalization of these policies. Finally, health educators are rallied to consider raising the issue of advocating for a more complete legislative strategy for school health education.