Research has shown that school health programs can reduce the prevalence of health risk behaviors among young people and have a positive effect on academic performance. Schools also play a critical role in promoting the health and safety of young people and helping them establish lifelong healthy behaviors. It is easier and more effective to develop healthy behaviors during childhood than trying to change unhealthy behaviors during adulthood. During the transition from childhood to adulthood, adolescents establish patterns of behavior and make lifestyle choices that affect both their current and future health.
Serious health and safety issues such as motor vehicle crashes, violence, substance use, management of chronic health conditions, health promotion and disease prevention activities and risky sexual behaviors can adversely affect adolescent and young adults making a huge impact on the educational and economic development of a community. It is vital that schools and communities know the school health data sets to focus on needed school health programs, policies and practices to ensure each student is health literate build healthy families and a strong workforce.