Program for Health Education for

Elementary School Age Children (K-6)



Health education for children needs to address the entire school environment--the students, teachers, and parents; the classroom, nutrition, physical activity, and general health.

Health Ahead / Heart Smart K-6 curriculum integrates national health education, science, and technology standards for which schools are currently held accountable. It models comprehensive and coordinated school health education and incorporates school guidelines for nutrition, physical activity, and tobacco use prevention recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Lessons include measurable objectives, valid assessments, technology resources, interactive student activities, and in/home application activities. The basic goal is to encourage primordial prevention.

As a part of the Bogalusa Heart Study, Health Ahead / Heart Smart builds on more than three decades of research into how to implement an effective cardiovascular and social prevention education curriculum for children. It successfully joins the science concerning cardiovascular risk factors with the effective application of protective health behaviors.

The Health Ahead / Heart Smart message is: "eat sensibly, be physically active, and practice healthy behaviors". Lessons promote health literacy through activities that encourage problem-solving, critical thinking, effective communication, self-initiated learning, and personal responsibility for health behavior choices. Program impact is measured by the ability of students to practice health protective behaviors while taking responsibility for their own health. The curriculum contains an extensive guide to assist K-6 teachers in successful implementation; suggestions for effective family and community outreach activities; and resources for integrating technology into lessons.

The program is unique in its approach to education by a strong behavioral orientation using mastery experiences, empowerment and encouraging self importance all beginning at a young age- kindergarten and even in the preschool age. The program teaches the importance of good decision making. Not only does it teach about nutrition and physical activity to help control obesity; but addresses tobacco and alcohol use and hopes to prevent dropouts and even violent behavior. The incorporation of many activities in the lesson plans promotes strong psychological and behavioral concepts to achieve healthy lifestyles.

Sandra L. Owen, M.Ed

The following are suggested activities that stimulate interest by teachers and parents:

     1.  Kick-off event.

     2.  Health Week (Heart Smart Week).

     3.  Health Fair.

     4.  Newsletter for parents (includes recipe modifications, new recipes, health information).

     5.  Afternoon Lifestyle Program for teachers (i.e. walking club, non smoking).

     6.  Role Model Program - parents, business leaders, professionals, athletes.

     7.  Nutrition Club (cafeteria manager and upper grade students).

     8.  Big Buddy Program to teach safety (i.e. wearing seat belts, helmets).

     9.  Geographic Fun Run.

     10.  Planting Club to grow a garden of fresh vegetables

Gerald S. Berenson, M.D.
Health Ahead / Heart Smart
(504) 988-7197
(504) 988-7194 FAX


Please click here to go to the Program Guidebooks


Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000