Advocacy for Quality Health Education and Physical Education

Schools and school districts are faced with extraordinary circumstances due to the Coronavirus pandemic. We recognize the financial and logistical impacts the pandemic has on our schools with difficult decisions and challenges ahead. As we consider the future, we reaffirm the importance of healthy students who are ready to learn1. Health education and physical education are key components of well-rounded education and support the development of healthy behaviors. Students must have opportunities to master the essential learning outcomes for health education and physical education. Our purpose is to provide a clear summary of the Ohio Revised Code, policy, and practices so boards of education, school administrators, and teachers can make decisions that comply with Ohio laws and best practices to ensure the health and well-being of all students.

Ohio’s children, families, schools and communities have been significantly impacted by the pandemic. The clear connection between education and health has been reinforced and highlighted as the key to our future. At the intersection of education and health are schools and their efforts to promote a lifetime of health, wellness, physical activity and student success. Healthy students who are more focused on learning, attend school regularly and are prepared for success 2, 3 The Ohio Department of Education Strategic Plan “Each Child, Our Future,” emphasizes a Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) approach. A WSCC approach incorporates additional programs and opportunities to enhance health and well-being including health education; physical education and physical activity; safe and healthy school environment; prevention programming; social-emotional learning; health services; health-related programs for families and staff; and the establishment of strong family and community connections. Our shared focus on the whole child seeks that every child is healthy, safe, supported, challenged, and engaged. Health Education and Physical Education are key components of the WSCC approach with health and physical educators playing a key role in supporting the whole child.

Benefits of Health Education

Health education encompasses planned learning experiences that provide the opportunity for students to acquire functional knowledge and skills needed to adopt and maintain healthy behaviors. Health education incorporates a variety of physical, social, emotional, and other components focused on reducing health risk behaviors and promoting healthy decision-making. Health education curricula emphasize a skills-based approach to help students practice and advocate for the health needs of themselves, their families, and their communities. Students must have opportunities within a daily health education class in Grades K–12 led by a licensed health education teacher to gain the content knowledge and practice the skills that will lead to the adoption and maintenance of health-promoting behaviors.

Benefits of Physical Education

Physical Education is an academic subject characterized by a planned, sequential K–12 curriculum (course of study) that is based on the national standards for physical education.3 Physical education develops motor skills; knowledge about movement, sport, fitness, and physical activity; the ability to construct physical activity and fitness plans; and demonstrate personal and social responsibility. Supporting schools to establish daily physical education can provide students with the ability and confidence to be physically active for a lifetime. Maintaining or increasing physical education time does not negatively affect students’ academic achievement. There are many benefits of physical education in schools including increased physical activity levels; improved academic performance; enhanced positive student behaviors; and increased time on-task in the classroom.Physical Educators also support a physical activity before, during and after school through a Comprehensive Physical Activity Program (CSPAP). The CSPAP includes physical education, before/after school physical activity, staff involvement, family/community engagement, and classroom physical activity.

Need more information about the requirements and best practices in health education and physical education? Click Here. 

1 Ohio Department of Education (2020). Reset and Restart Education: Planning Guide for Ohio Schools and Districts. 
2 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. 
3 The Colorado Education Initiative (2015). Health is vital for student success: An overview of relevant research. Connecting Education and Learning. Retrieved from
4 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2013). Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs: A Guide for Schools. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Dept of Health and Human Services; 2013.

OAHPERD's Priorities and Initiatives

OAHPERD's mission is to keep Ohioans healthy and physically active by providing lifelong learning and professional development, leadership, service and advocacy.

These are OAHPERD's current advocacy priorities:

Local Initiatives:

  • Quality Health Education & Physical Education
  • Including course offerings and standards-based curriculum
  • Expanded course offerings and minutes of instruction for health and physical education in grades K-12.
  • Encourage local districts to utilize Credit Flexibility instead of Physical Education Waiver

State Initiatives:

Federal Initiatives:

  • ESSA - Continued support of well-rounded students, safe and healthy schools and educating the whole child.


Questions? Want to get involved? 

Contact the Advocacy Chair for more information:

Kevin Lorson
Advocacy Chair
Wright State University
[email protected]

Advocating for Quality Health Education and Physical Education in Ohio
Hosted by: Kevin Lorson, OAHPERD Advocacy Chair and Traci Grissom, OAHPERD President

Support Health Education Standards for Ohio

Ohio is the only state without health education standards. Below are key resources to help understand the issue so you can help support the advocacy efforts for Ohio to become the 50th state with health education standards."

Currently there are two bills that would create Ohio Health Education Standards.

SB 121 - Click Here for more information
HB 165 - Click Here for more information

OAHPERD Health Education Standards

- An overview of the issue, summarizes health education requirements, and additional information about the bill. 

Ohio's Health Education Standards:

-Information supporting Health Education Standards Legislation.

Why We Need Health Education Standards in Ohio? 

- A one-page handout sharing teachers’ perspectives about the importance of health education standards. 

Quality Skills-Based Health Education Curriculum

- Information about quality skill-based health education and the steps to develop a skills-based curriculum. Standards are an essential element of a skills-based health education curriculum.

Health Education & Local Control

- Describes the health education requirements, role of standards, and how standards protect and enhance local control.