We all remember health class, right? For some, it was an easy A or an excuse to take a nap during class. For others, it was riveting learning about all of these seemingly 'adult' things that felt as though they had no place in school. The curriculum was different everywhere depending on the school and the person responsible for teaching it, so it's likely that we all learned different variations of the same things.
In 2019, however, everything is different.
Kids are maturing at different rates than we did and the world, quite frankly, is an entirely new environment. When it comes to health classes, many kids are learning things either in more detail or learning things that completely differ from what we were taught. Nevertheless, these are 20 things most parents didn't know health classes taught.
At one point, health class was simply clinical in nature. Teachers taught the facts and not much else, at least from what we remember. Now, things are viewed from a much more emotional perspective. Not only is physical relationship health important, but a teen's mental status has gained some attention, too.
With so many opinions (which are usually not asked for) going around on social media these days, promoting a positive self-image is yet another health-related topic. Empowerment and confidence are encouraged, despite the black-and-white days of learning what's 'healthy' and what's 'not.' Confidence-boosting is definitely a positive change.
Rather than just saying any and all physical contact is 'bad,' health teachers are diving more in-depth to help teens make informed decisions. With shows such as Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant all over TV, these subjects are not nearly as taboo now as they once were. Better a teen should learn from a teacher and not MTV, right?
Alternatively, not every state will sign off with a green light to teach kids about reproduction at length. Many states still keep this process of life on the down low regardless of what statistics show. It's a bit surprising in today's more open and brutally honest society, but many states maintain conservative boundaries in their teachings.
Interestingly enough, though abstinence is taught widely in health classes, this is not always a winning battle on the side of health teachers. There are no affirmative statistics to prove that teaching this has ever made a difference, therefore, some curriculums are now educating teens on how to be safe rather than be nothing at all.
A teen's life today is completely different than the lifestyle we knew growing up. Therefore, more needed to be added to health courses in order to remain current. One of these changes is the addition of anger management, where students are taught how to channel their energy—and emotions–in a helpful, calm way.
That's right, a new generation means just a bit more freedom on the teacher's end. In a world where many teens struggle with mental health issues, it's no surprise that more time is spent discussing the root of this problem. Some curriculums have a 'no holds barred' approach, where discussion is an open and safe space for all.
One thing that we definitely did not need to deal with is technology. Back in the day, we were lucky if we had access to our own computer outside of school; nowadays, kids are taught that too much screen time isn't always the best thing. Encouraging kids to be active, get outside, and breathe in some fresh air are a priority over skimming the web.
Exercise was always part of the curriculum in school but in today's society, it's discussed even more in-depth. Kids are encouraged to sign up for sports and take on individual activities such as low-impact sports, like yoga, walking, biking, etc. We all joked about becoming couch potatoes but in 2019, it's even more imperative that kids are learning about the dangers of laziness.
Many schools will not bring in a professional when it comes to teaching health classes in school. Some of us do remember being taught by our PE teachers, and this is a method still used today. Occasionally, a science teacher will be chosen to educate teens on every health topic, making it more factoid than personal.
Health is becoming an even bigger concern in the US as disease rates rise and this is likely due to unhealthy meal plans. Many students are educated as early as middle school on how to maintain a balanced lifestyle, which includes good nutrition. They'll be taught how to incorporate various food groups and which foods to try and avoid.
Oddly enough, despite all of the major changes to health class, the food pyramid is still in effect. While minor changes might be noted when teaching it, it's still wildly outdated. Studies have shown that certain food groups provide inaccurate information regarding the daily serving of each, making it somewhat of a waste of time.
Although a student might seem just fine in their school life, that's not saying much about their home or internet life. Since social media does play such a large role in most teen's lives, unfortunately, it must be accounted for in the curriculum. Picking on or making fun of another person isn't tolerate, and teachers will discuss how to deal with the situation.
Something that many parents have gripes over is the role of sugar and carb-based foods when it comes to nutrition teachings. Many have concerns that this type of modern condemning of all sugar intakes can lead to harsh choices for kids, who burn up sugar much faster than adults do.
Developing friendships and maintaining them are all part of being in school and this is taught in health class. Since social media and cell phones have a tendency to interfere with face-to-face socialization, some health curriculums do help to teach kids how to be comfortable and become more open to social interactions.
We've seen it on social media but now it's an actual term: self-care. This doesn't just apply to adults who have stressful weeks at work; this is now applicable to kids and teens of all ages. Self-care covers things such as hygiene, attending to social and emotional needs, and learning how to encourage others to practice self-care.
One thing that remains unchanged is education on preventable diseases. However, this is much more of a broad term. Health classes now go into more depth on proper hand-washing, limiting physical contact during flu season, and spent plenty of time on proper hygiene. By teaching kids at a young age, they can help further prevent the spread of illnesses as they get older.
Some schools have the 'okay' to teach students about proper forms of birth control and contraception. The catch-22 is that many of them are not allowed to actually demonstrate or describe how these are used, so it's a bit up in the air on whether or not this actually helps.
With issues that many teens face, such as dysmorphia, it's important that a health class promotes a positive self-image. Teens are taught about how they view themselves in addition to why another's opinion simply doesn't matter. They're also taught to reach out should they ever struggle with either of those things.
Sources: homehighschoolhelp.com, teach-nology.com, quora.com, health.usnews.com, hellogiggles.com