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Health Education, Physical Education, and Physical Activity

What is Health Education?

The goal of health education is to help students adopt and maintain healthy behaviors.  Health education should contribute directly to a student’s ability to successfully practice behaviors that protect and promote health and avoid or reduce risks. 

The educator’s role in contributing to this goal includes:

  • Teaching functional health information
  • Helping students determine personal values that support healthy behaviors
  • Helping students develop group norms that value a healthy lifestyle
  • Helping students develop the essential skills necessary to adopt, practice, and maintain health-enhancing behaviors 


National Health Standards: Provides a framework within which educators can assess and chose curriculum that focuses on healthy behavior outcomes that are particular to the needs of their students.

Ohio Revised Code: Ohio laws relating to health education including graduation and required topics.

CDC School Health Guidelines: Guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to promote healthy eating and physical activity in schools.

What is Physical Education?

As a result of physical education in Ohio, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate competency in a variety of motor skills and movement patterns needed to perform a variety of physical activities
  • Demonstrate understanding of movement concepts, principles, strategies, and tactics related to movement and performance of physical activity
  • Participate regularly in physical activity
  • Achieve and maintain a health-enhancing level of physical activity and fitness
  • Exhibit responsible personal and social behavior that respects self and others in physical activity settings 
  • Value physical activity for health, enjoyment, challenge, self-expression and/or social interaction


Ohio Department of Education Physical Education: Provides resources and information on physical education in Ohio.

What is Physical Activity?

Regular physical activity can play a powerful role in preventing chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and stroke.  It can also build strong bones and muscles, reduce anxiety and depression, and promote positive mental health.  Providing regular opportunities for youth to participate in physical activity will help them establish healthy lifestyles that can prevent these diseases in the future. 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has the following guidelines for Americans ages 6 and older:

Children and adolescents should do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of physical activity daily.

  • Aerobic Activities: Most of the 60 or more minutes per day should be either moderate- or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity.  Vigorous-intensity should be included at least three days per week.
  • Muscle-strengthening Activities: Include muscle-strengthening physical activity on at least three days of the week as part of the 60 or more minutes.
  • Bone-strengthening Activities: Include bone-strengthening physical activity on at least three days of the week as part of the 60 or more minutes. 

Activities should be age-appropriate, enjoyable, and offer variety.   


Ohio Association for Health, Physical Activity, Recreation, and Dance (OAHPERD):  Provides lifelong learning and professional development, leadership, service, and advocacy in order to keep Ohioans healthy and active.

Comprehensive School Physical Activity: Provides coordination to maximize understanding, application, and practice of the knowledge and skills learned in physical education so that all students will be fully physically educated and well-equipped for a lifetime of physical activity. 

Last updated 8/20/15