Exciting Things Happening in Health Education

So, another one’s down in the books. The SHAPE (Society of Health and Physical Educators) National Convention is just winding down in Seattle, and as is usually the case after big conferences like this, I’m left with some great ideas to take back to my classroom.

What’s even more exciting about this year, though, is that I’m leaving with a new sense of hope about the future of health education. Health, for a subject that every one of our students will need when they grow up, has traditionally gotten very little love in the American education system.


Are Parents Doing Enough To Protect Teen Athletes From Overuse Injuries?

Did you know that overuse injuries make up half of all teen sports injuries? That’s a huge amount. Overuse injuries are injuries that occur from a repeated activity over time, such as throwing a baseball And according to a new study, a majority of parents don’t know ways youth baseball pitchers can prevent getting injured. Being familiar with safe pitching practices could be an important step in avoiding these kinds of injuries.


Naps Are More Powerful Than You May Think

It’s a known fact that most teens usually don’t get the recommended amount of sleep every night. Not only does it affect their performance in school, but a lack of sleep can increase their obesity risk. According to guidelines from the National Sleep Foundation, teens are recommended to get 8-10 hours per night. But let’s be honest, that doesn’t always happen. With screen time sometimes trumping sleep time, it seems like there aren’t enough hours in the night. That’s where naps come in!

Besides making a teen feel well-rested, there are even more scientific benefits of napping. Naps can improve a person’s memory fivefold.


Do School Drug Policies Increase Teens’ Marijuana Use?

Have you ever wondered if out-of-school suspension actually prevents students from continuing misbehavior? Kids essentially get a day off for violating policies such as illicit drug use on school grounds. It turns out this type of punishment is not the best way to get students to learn their lesson—at least when it comes to drug use. A new study reveals that out-of-school suspension drug policies actually increase the likelihood of students using marijuana in the future.

Researchers from the American Public Health Association set out to investigate how student marijuana use is impacted by the type of drug policy their school implements.


Texting Isn’t The Only Dangerous Thing Teens Are Doing Behind The Wheel

While we’re familiar with the dangerous habit of texting while driving, this research may surprise you. A new study reveals other risky behaviors teens are doing behind the wheel that need to be addressed.

According to a study at Oregon State University, 27% of teens admit to changing clothes or shoes will operating a vehicle. They also change contact lenses, put on make-up, and do homework.


5 TED Talks to Use During Health Class

Gone are the days of filler movies or meaningless worksheets. We’ve got a wealth of amazing guest speakers at our fingertips, whether we’re absent or not.

Here are five TED talks that I show almost every year. Usually I’m there when I show them so we can discuss afterwards, but in case of a last minute emergency, these classics would work in a pinch.


Teens Can Boost Their Grades with Breakfast

It can tough to find enough time on weekdays for a nutritious breakfast. Between staying up late studying for exams and chatting online with friends, some teens can hardly wake up on time for class. Sitting down to a healthy breakfast is just one more thing to do in the morning and it can be easy to brush off. A new study shows why your teens shouldn’t skip it—especially if they want a better shot at doing well on that exam.

Researchers at the University of Iowa found that students who ate free school nutritious breakfasts performed better academically. They also found that students who attend schools that participate in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s School Breakfast Program have higher achievement scores in math, science, and reading than those in schools who don’t participate, according to a recent press release from the university. The impact was actually cumulative. The longer the school participated in the program, the higher their achievement scores were.


How Does Marijuana Affect The Teen Brain Long-Term?

From a shorter attention span to lower grades, smoking marijuana can affect the teenage brain in a variety of ways. While those are more immediate side effects, a new study reveals long-term damage of this drug. According to research from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, heavy marijuana use as a teen can potentially lead to long-term memory loss.


Warning: This New Form of Alcohol Will Be Attractive to Teens

Did you know that alcohol comes in a powdered form called Palcohol? If you didn’t, that’s probably because it was unavailable for purchase in the United States. Last week, however, the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau approved this substance for sale.

This powered alcohol can be mixed easily by just adding it to water. The same laws apply to this powdered form as liquid alcohol, so it will be illegal for anyone under 21-years-old to purchase it.


Why Teens Should Snack on More Nuts

Chances are you’ve heard about the health benefits of certain nuts. For example, almonds boost bone health, improve brain functions, and lower cholesterol. Meanwhile, pecans are rich in antioxidants. It’s not just adults who should be munching on these salty snacks—a new study found that eating nuts while in your teens can lead to important health benefits. Consuming a small amount of nuts every day can decrease cardiovascular risks in adolescents.