TN Health Education Standards
School-based health education helps students acquire functional health knowledge, strengthen attitudes and beliefs and provide opportunity for practice skills needed to adopt and maintain healthy behaviors throughout their lives.
Research shows a strong connection between healthy behaviors and academic achievement (e.g., grades, standardized tests, graduation rates, attendance). Student behaviors and experiences set the stage for adult health. In particular, health behaviors and experiences related to violence, and substance use are consistently linked to poor grades and test scores and lower educational attainment. In turn, providing health education can help youth to develop positive well-being, academic success, and healthy outcomes into adulthood.
Healthy students are better learners, and academic achievement bears a lifetime of benefits for health. However, youth risk behaviors, such as physical inactivity, unhealthy dietary behaviors, tobacco use, alcohol use, and other drug use are consistently linked to poor grades and test scores and lower educational attainment. To access the results of the most recent Youth Risk Behavior Survey that gives more insight related to these behaviors, click here.
The State Board of Education (SBE) adopts the academic standards and graduation requirements for subjects in grades K-12. The current criteria state all students must successfully pass one high school credit of Lifetime Wellness in order to graduate with a diploma.
K-8 Health Education Standards
Tennessee's Health Education Standards can be used to support the effective implementation of comprehensive health education as one of the components of Coordinated School Health.
· K-5 Elementary Health Standards
· 6-8 Middle School Health Standards
High School Lifetime Wellness Standards
Lifetime Wellness is a holistic approach to health and lifetime physical activities in Tennessee high schools. This approach to total wellness encompasses the physical, mental, social, and personal needs of the individual.
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health Education in Schools. Atlanta: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2021.
2. Michael SL, Merlo CL, Basch CE, Wentzel KR, Wechsler H. Critical connections: Health and academics. J Sch Health. 2015;85(11):740–758. doi:10.1111/josh.12309.
3. Bradley BJ, Greene AC. Do health and education agencies in the United States share responsibility for academic achievement and health? A review of 25 years of evidence about the relationship of adolescents’ academic achievement and health behaviors. J Adolesc Heal. 2017;52(5):523–532. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2013.01.008.
4. Busch V, Loyen A, Lodder M, Schrijvers AJP, van Yperen TA, de Leeuw JRJ. The effects of adolescent health-related behavior on academic performance: A systematic review of the longitudinal evidence. Rev Educ Res. 2014;84(2):245–274. doi:10.3102/0034654313518441.
5. Rasberry, CN, Lee SM, Robin L, Laris BA, Russell LA, Coyle KK, Nihiser JA. The association between school-based physical activity, including physical education, and academic performance: A systematic review of the literature. Prev Med (Baltim). 2011;52(SUPPL.):S10–S20. doi:10.1016/j.ypmed.2011.01.027.
6. Basch CE. Healthier students are better learners: A missing link in school reforms to close the achievement gap. J Sch Health. 2011;81(10):593–598. doi:10.1111/j.1746-1561.2011.00632.x.
7. Rasberry CN, Tiu GF, Kann L, McManus T, et al. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health-related behaviors and academic achievement among high school students, United States, 2015. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) Full Report. 2017.
8. Eisen M, Pallitto C, Bradner C, Bolshun N. Teen Risk-Taking: Promising Prevention Programs and Approaches. Washington, DC: Urban Institute; 2000.
9. Lohrmann DK, Wooley SF. Comprehensive School Health Education. In: Marx E, Wooley S, Northrop D, editors. Health Is Academic: A Guide to Coordinated School Health Programs. New York: Teachers College Press; 1998:43–45.
10. Nation M, Crusto C, Wandersman A, Kumpfer KL, Seybolt D, Morrissey-Kane, E, Davino K. What works: principles of effective prevention programsexternal icon. American Psychologist 2003;58(6/7):449–456.
11. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. School Health Profiles 2018: Characteristics of Health Programs Among Secondary Schoolspdf icon. Atlanta: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2019.
12. Rasberry CN, Tiu GF, Kann L, et al. Health-Related Behaviors and Academic Achievement Among High School Students— United States, 2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2017;66:921–927
13. Basch CE. Healthier students are better learners: high-quality, strategically planned, and effectively coordinated school health programs must be a fundamental mission of schools to help close the achievement gapexternal icon. J Sch Health. 2011 Oct;81(10):650-62.
14. Murray NG, Low BJ, Hollis C, Cross AW, Davis SM. Coordinated school health programs and academic achievement: A systematic review of the literatureexternal icon. J Sch Health 2007;77:589-600.
15. Carlson SA, Fulton JE, Lee SM, Maynard M, Drown DR, Kohl III HW, Dietz WH. Physical education and academic achievement in elementary school: data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study. American Journal of Public Health, 2008;98(4):721–727.