Skip to main content

National Health Education Standards

National Health Education Standards coverThe National Health Education Standards (NHES) detail what students need to know and be able to do in order to achieve health literacy, by setting performance indicators around the functional knowledge and essential skills required for adopting and maintaining healthy behaviors. All lessons in the K-12 curriculum are aligned with the second edition of the NHES, and great emphasis is placed on students having opportunities to become proficient in and master the concepts and skills outlined at each grade level.

National Health Education Standards blue poster

National Health Education Standards white poster

National Health Education Standards with HealthSmart poster

National Health Education Standards cards

Download NHES Posters and Cards

See the lesson alignment for each grade level:

The HealthSmart program meets the NHES in many ways:

  • Standard 1: Comprehending Concepts. HealthSmart builds on the idea that knowledge is power by helping students comprehend key concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention. Lessons focus on the concepts essential to the practice of healthy behaviors. Within the program, students acquire and apply that functional knowledge to develop skills and take actions to increase the likelihood of their lives being safe and healthy.
  • Standard 2: Analyzing Influences. Within the lessons, students analyze the influence of family, peers, culture, media, technology and other factors on health behaviors. Activities build on the values of students' families, cultures and communities to shape healthy personal and peer norms. Students identify influences on their health behaviors and attitudes, evaluate how these influences affect them, and practice strategies for seeking out positive and resisting negative influences.
  • Standard 3: Accessing Resources. Within the different content areas, students research, gather and assess health information. They examine how various services can enhance health, identify resources, and develop personal support systems to help them express healthy intentions and take action to maintain or improve their health.
  • Standard 4: Interpersonal Communication. HealthSmart offers numerous opportunities for students to learn and practice interpersonal communication skills to enhance health and avoid or reduce risk behaviors. Activities are designed to strengthen the social and communication skills research has shown to be effective in negotiating personal health. Students learn to communicate effectively with family and peers, resolve conflicts, resist pressure to participate in risky behaviors, and ask for help when they need it.
  • Standard 5: Decision Making. HealthSmart empowers students to make healthy choices. Decision making is taught using developmentally appropriate models at the different grade levels. Activities help students understand the decision-making process and how it can be applied to enhance health and safety. They gain practice in applying decision-making steps to relevant sample situations and to their own lives.
  • Standard 6: Goal Setting. HealthSmart provides opportunities and support for students to establish health goals in many different areas. They learn to assess their current behaviors to identify things they want to change, and to set realistic, specific and measurable goals for improvement. A practical goal-setting model helps them identify benefits of the desired behavior change, monitor their progress toward their goals, and anticipate and overcome barriers along the way.
  • Standard 7: Practicing Health-Enhancing Behaviors. Within the HealthSmart program, students apply the knowledge and skills they are learning and take action to establish healthy behaviors. They are empowered to take responsibility for their health choices, and to develop and implement plans for maintaining or improving their health. They monitor their actions, make adjustments and get help when needed to maintain their healthy behaviors.
  • Standard 8: Advocacy. Students are given many opportunities to act as advocates for personal, family and community health. Activities in which students share the knowledge and skills they've gained to help promote the health of their peers, families and communities are a primary focus of the HealthSmart program.

The specific performance indicators met within each lesson are clearly identified in the lesson overviews. You can also download the alignment for each grade level from the links above.

Read more about how the NHES support Social and Emotional Learning