June 29, 2015
Under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) passed in 2002, health education was not included as one of the core academic subjects for elementary and secondary schools. NCLB expired in 2007, and this summer, the US Congress is considering passage of a replacement bill, the Every Child Achieves (ECAA) Act. In its current form, ECAA also does not include a provision for health education as a core academic subject.
Including health as a core subject has a number of academic benefits, which CATCH supporters undoubtedly already know and witness on a daily basis. As outlined in greater detail on our research page, healthy children have higher rates of attendance and physically active children score higher in math and reading. Additionally, health classes are influential in dissuading students from high risk youth behaviors such as smoking/vaping, overconsumption of foods high in fat and sugar, and excessive drinking. The long-term cost for the nation of chronic diseases resultant of these risk behaviors is immense.
Including health as a core subject will allow funding to be used for training teachers and strengthening curriculum in health-related subjects. ECAA has already passed in the House of Representatives but is still up for deliberation in the Senate. Current forecasts suggest that the bill will enter deliberation just after the July 4 recess. If you wish to see health education included in this version of the bill, please contact your senator by finding their contact information at this link.