Health is a crucial part of any person’s life and it is obvious that education on this subject from an early age is paramount if one has to lead a good and healthy life. There are several health hazards everywhere we turn and if one does not take care of protecting oneslef, the situation can turn rather nasty.
Education in all aspects is important but in health it is obviously paramount and in all quarters. Schools have to be on the alert to institute community programmes for children and youths. Parents also have to be informed on the best ways to educate their children on the health aspect but in normally constituted families, that is something which is taken rather for granted.
Topics for health education
Alcohol abuse and binge drinking are amongst the worse forms of health problems in youths and the rate of consumption has increased substantially over the past years. Parents should be made aware of the dire consequences which excessive alcohol consumption can bring as this eventually also leads to other problems like drug abuse and also laxity on sexual health with the resultant societal problems.
Malta has a severe alcohol consumption problem amongst the younger generation and if this is not addressed soon, the nation will include quite an alarming proportion of binge drinkers. Efforts are being made to address this problem although the levels of success are not always quite desirable. However schools are instigating alcohol consumption education programmes and there are several instances when youths have been successful in overcoming this scourge and problem (timesofmalta 2010).
Societal programmes are also an important part of the outreach programme for sexual education. In countries with a rather insular stance on the issue such as Malta, the concept of health education is still rather retarded. There have been instances when the spokesperson on sexual health has been muzzled up (timesofmalta.com 2011) and the excessive moralist stance in such countries creates a situation where children and youths remain ignorant on these issues with the consequently devastating results.
Health education on smoking and drugs
This is another facet of health education which is important and crucial as lung cancer which is linked to excessive smoking still remains one of the biggest killers in the world. Proper education on this issue is extremely important as this case study will demonstrate;
Tim Frymer (2010) explains how a man literally wasted away after smoking excessively. In the very intriguing article quoted below he describes how a 68 year old man who smoked on average, one and half cigarette packets a day ended up in hospital with huge health problems four years after he stopped smoking. He then spent no less than fifteen years going regularly to hospital suffering from a number of diseases including cngestive heart failure, pneumonia, coronary artery disease, renal insufficiency etc. This outlines the fact that prevention and cessation of smoking at an early age is crucial. Still there remains a huge proportion of Americans who smoke like chimmneys and who do absolutely nothing to protect their health. These then eventually move on to harder drugs which obviously have dire consequences.
Here one can observe the stark reality of what smoking can do to a relatively healthy person. So it is more than crucial that education on smoking starts at an early age many a time young children who are offered cigarettes accept without even knowing that this will eventually lead to the ruin of their health.
Education on drugs is also another important issue as the use of both soft and fast drugs has increased alarmingly in the past years in several countries. Here as well, proper outreach programmes should be implemented to ensure that parenst have the right tools to be able to educate their children on these life and death issues.
Malta has a huge problem with regard to drugs as the island is seen as a haven for importation and consummation of hard drugs such as ecstacy. The island is constantly awash with parties where regular drug arrests are made but several youths still end up in drug rehabilitation centres without much hope of kicking the habit. Broken families and lack of education are obviously an influence here so it is important that proper health educational programmes focus regularly on drugs.
Several case studies in Malta have been published by Caritas where one can assess the huge damage that drugs inflict on the local community. Insularity and fear also need to be conquered if health education on drugs is to be a success. The non profit organisation continues to work hard amongst the poor, the needy and the disadvantaged to ensure that they remain far away from drugs as possible. (Caritas 2011). Still the problem remains so better observation on behalf of parents and other social peers with regards to drug usage is imperative.
Conclusion – health education as a tool for betterment
As the maxim goes, prevention is always better than cure and in the case of health, this could not be a truer fact. ‘Getting them young’ is another important philosophy as it ensures that the children and youths are educated accordingly on issues such as excessive alcohol consumption, tobacco smoking, drug use and other generally unhealthy habits.
Excessive alcohol consumption can be avoided if parents and social outreach programmes are properly implemented which governemnts also have an important part to play when controlling licences and shop sales to younger people. Binge drinking is unfortunately on the rise but this can also be tapered down if a collective effort is made. Alcohol is another killer and if left to fester, this may also create several problems in adult life, be it breakup of relationships, general health problems and even death.
The crux of the matter remains education. Parents continue to have the most important role to educate their children on issues of health but other peers such as doctors, teachers and even the local community leader should continue to engage the young with consistent education on these issues. Health is not something which can be tampered with and neither is it something which you can get back at a moment’s notice. It is important and crucial for collective efforts to be made to encourage health education amongst the young in all the areas mentioned.
Yale University website; http://yalehealth.yale.edu/med_services/student_health.html.
Frymer T; Smoking and your Health; Case Study http://ezinearticles.com/?Smoking-and-Your-Health---A-Case-Study&id=4413495
Concerns over Binge Drinking 2010 http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20101126/local/concern-over-rise-in-binge-drinking.337928 timesofmalta.com
Caritas Malta; www.caritasmalta.org
University of Michigan; Health education; http://sitemaker.umich.edu/mendez.356/sex_education-_contraceptives_vs_abstinence