Author: Spillman, David, Baker, Gabrielle
Type of paper: Abstract refereed
The justification for the inclusion of health, and therefore food and nutrition, education within the school curriculum has traditionally revolved around the belief that schools have an obligation to assist individuals to develop knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and skills to be able to improve their health-related behaviour, both in the short term and for the remainder of their lives. While recognising the importance of this rationale, other complimentary arguments are currently being proposed. In particular, there is an emerging body of support, both philosohpical and research-based, for the notion that the degree of health within a school community, which includes the health of individuals, groups and environments can have a dramatic impact upon the educational outcomes achieved by students within that community. Secondly, health and in particular food and nutrition has been implicated as a critical social equity issue within school communities. To adress a rationale based upon such a combination of arguments requires school communities to consider more than just the health curriculum. The Health Promoting School model provides a framework for such development. Case studies of four schools involved in the Nutrition Education and Teenagers project (NEAT) will be refered to in this paper to provide support for the hypothesis that food and nutrition is an efficacious point of entry into the Health Promoting School model.