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School & Health: Our Nation's Investment
this activity, including curriculum designs and teacher–student resource guides that address the 10 instructional content areas of health education across all grade levels.
The new social morbidities of children and young people began to increase in visibility beginning in the 1950s and 1960s. Mental, social, and emotional health became issues, and schools began to attempt to deal with delinquency, narcotic addiction, and the inability of students to adjust to the regular school environment. The 1960 White House Conference on Children and Youth had youths participating for the first time; the conference was profoundly concerned with drug abuse, increases in the incidence of venereal diseases, illegitimate births, and inadequate opportunities for youth employment (University of Colorado, Office of School Health, 1991).
Although the Great Society programs of the 1960s and 1970s brought an influx of funding for school health, many of these programs focused largely on disadvantaged and special populations. As these programs grew, the perceived importance of school health for mainstream students may have begun to decline. In addition, with the publication of A Nation at Risk (Goldberg and James, 1983) and the emergence of the "back to the basics" movement during the early 1980s, the role of health and physical education in the curriculum also came under question. Should these courses be considered part of the core curriculum or did they intrude on and distract from "academics"?
Since the mid- to late-1980s, however, there has been a resurgence of concern for the health and welfare of children and families, with renewed focus on the potential for schools to address health and social problems. Examples of recent significant activities in school health include the following:
the School-Based Adolescent Health Care Program, begun in 1986 by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which catalyzed the rapid proliferation of school-based clinics;
the establishment in 1987 of the National Commission on Children, a bipartisan group created by public law "to serve as a forum on behalf of the children of the Nation;" the commission published its seminal report, Beyond Rhetoric, in 1991 (National Commission on Children, 1991);
the creation of the Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 1988, and the associated increase in funding of school health initiatives and demonstration projects;
the launching of the U.S. Public Health Service's Healthy People 2000 initiative, which includes a set of nearly 300 national health promotion and disease prevention objectives to be achieved by the year 2000.